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48 Holyoke Street, 

v Cambridge Mass. v 

' ) 






"It is impossible to slay a nation." 





The following chapters originally appeared in The Irish 
Catholic, from which paper they are now republished with 
some additions. Based as they are upon the actual w r ords 
and writings of the chief actors in the unparalleled con- 
spiracy by which Ireland was deprived of her ancient 
legislature and her constitution violated, it is hoped that 
they may be the means of extending accurate knowledge 
as to the baseness of the means adopted to secure those 

W. F. Dexnehw 

Mountjoy-square, Dublin. 
October, 1891. 





Sir Jonah Barringtox, in his " Historic Memoirs of Ire- 
land," says, speaking of the circumstances under which the 
preliminary steps were taken in the foul act of political 
treachery for which Ireland still seeks redress : — " The re- 
bellion had commenced on the 23rd May, 1798, and on 
the 22nd January, 1799, a Union was proposed. The com- 
mercial propositions* had taught Mr. Pitt that, in a period 
of tranquillity, nothing could be effected with the Irish 
Parliament by fraud or delusion. But for the terrors of 
the rebellion, the proposal of the Union might have united 
all parties against the Government. . . . Mr. Pitt's 
project was first decidedly announced by a pamphlet written 
by Mr. Edward Cooke, the Under Secretary, entitled 
'Arguments for and against a Union Considered.' It was 
plausibly written, and it roused the people from their con- 

* Of these Sir Jonah says: "Mr. Orde, the secretary of the Viceroy, on 
the 7th February, 1785, proposed to the Irish Parliament eleven resolu- 
tions as a distinct commercial treaty between two independent States. As 
such they were received, debated, virtually rejected by the Irish Parliament, 
and withdrawn by the Minister, ten of these eleven articles appearing to be 
concessions to England, but the eleventh resolution (most carefully and 
expertly introduced) being framed so as to declare Ireland forever a de- 
pendent nation, and to' appropriate a considerable part of the Irish revenue, 
irrevocably to the purposes of Great Britain."— Historic Memoirs of Ireland 
Vol. ii. p. 217, edition 1825. 


The Story of the Union : 

fidence that no English Minister dare propose, or Irishman 
abet, a destruction of that independence which Ireland had 
possessed less than eighteen years. M * 

Cooke had been one of the very few of the old knot of 
corrupt officials who had been dismissed during the too 
brief viceroyalty of Earl Fitzwilliam. On the success of 
the intrigue which compelled that nobleman to resign the 
Government of Ireland, Cooke was restored to place by the 
new Lord Lieutenant, Earl Camden, who appointed him 
Secretary for the Civil Department, a post which he held 
until the passage of the Act of Union. He was elected a 
member of the Irish Parliament in 1789 for the pocket 
borough of Lifford, in the county of Donegal. He was a 
man deep in the councils of the plotters of the Union, and 
shares with them the guilt of having promoted and provoked 
the rebellion in order to pave the way for that iniquitous 
measure. A memorandum in his handwriting, drawn up 
for the information of Lord Cornwallis, towards the close 
of the year 1800, is still preserved in Dublin Castle. It 
shows him to have been one of the chief disbursers of 
" blood-money" to the atrocious wretches whose treacheries 
and perjuries were so freely utilised for the creation of 
terror in the evil days of 1798. It is as follows : — 


I submit to your lordship on this head the following : — 

First, that Mac f should have a pension of ... £300 

He was not much trusted in the Rebellion, and I 
believe he has been faithful. 
Francis Higgins, proprietor of the Free?na?i , s Journal, was 
the person who procured for me all the intelligence re- 
specting Lord Edward Fitzgerald, and got -Z to set 

him, and has given me much information ... ... £300 

• Historic Memoirs of Ireland. Vol. ii., p. 285, ed. 1825. 

t Leonard M'Nally, the barrister who was constantly retained for the 
defence of the United Irishmen, and as constantly betrayed their secrets 
to the Government. 

X The blank appears in original, but there is no doubt that Higgins was 
himself the betrayer of the ill-fated Lord Edward. 

Told by its Plotters. 


M'Guichen, who is now in Belfast, ought to have ... £150 
I wish a man of the name of Nicholson, whom I employ 

regularly, should have ... ... ... £50 

Darragh* ought to have for himself and his wife, at least £200 

I think it might be right to get rid of many of our little pen- 
sioners, and Major Sirr's gang, by sums of money instead of 

Such was Mr. Cooke, a prime mover in the abominable 
series of transactions which resulted in Ireland being made 
a shambles by the paymasters of the hireling wretches who, 
in the words of Curran, " dipped the Evangelists in blood/** 
Our readers will notice the phrases in the memorandum 
just quoted, its references to "a man whom I employ 
regularly/* to "our little pensioners," and, in the same 
sentence, to " Major Sirr's gang," but, worst and most 
heinous of all, the evidence which it affords that the writer 
was the briber of the degraded being who, false to the 
honourable traditions of a noble profession, betrayed the 
secrets and the lives of the clients who trusted him. This 
was the man who was selected to bring the project of a 
union with Great Britain before the Irish public, a public 
stunned, bewildered, and intimidated by the terrible occur- 
rences which were taking place in their midst. Even, 
however, at this moment, when the viceroy, Lord Corn- 
wallis, was still in the field with the army which he had 
collected and led against the French General Humbert, and 
while rumours of further invasions and revolts were rife 
on all sides, one body of citizens stood forth in earnest 
defence of the ancient Parliament of the realm. Sir Jonah 
Barrington says : — " The Bar in Ireland was formerly not 
a working trade, but a proud profession, filled with gentle- 
men of birth and fortune who were then residents in their 
country. The Government, the Parliament, every muni- 

* A Mr. Darragh, of Eagle Hill, Athy, a magistrate and a noted oppressor 
of the people, as well as a vigorous persecutor of suspected persons. 

4 The Story of the Union: 

cipality then felt the influence of that profession, whose 
pride it was always to defend the constitution."* 

The effect likely to be produced by the far-sighted and 
patriotic action of the Bar did not escape the recollection 
of those who were conspiring against the legislative inde- 
pendence of Ireland, and meditating a coup d'etat the most 
unjustifiable and unscrupulous recorded in history. They 
naturally watched with much anxiety the course pursued by 
the members of the legal profession. Cooke wrote to Castle- 
reagh, who was then absent from Dublin, a letter in which 
he described a meeting held on the 9th September, 1798. 
\In this document, written on the following day, he says : — 

The Bar met yesterday at the Four Courts, and adjourned to 
William-street at one. Saurin moved that a Union was an in- 
novation, dangerous and improper to propose at the present 
juncture. He was seconded by Spencer — neither spoke very 
forcibly. St. George Daly moved an adjournment for a month, 
and was seconded by Jameson. The cry was against them, but 
I hear Daly spoke well. The young barristers were vociferous 
and violent, in clamour and language. Tom Grady and M'Cleland 
spoke well for the Union. On a division, 162 against adjourn- 
ment, 32 for it. 

Such was the feeling of the Bar relative to the proposed 

measure, but Cooke had something more of importance to 

add. He continues his account of what took place at the 

meeting. He says : — 

Bellew and Lynch, two Catholics, were in the majority ; when 
Grady said the Catholics were for the measure, they denied it, 
and desired that any opinion should be suspended till a meeting 
should be held, which was to be this week. I shall know more, 
of this to-morrow. Ponsonby, Curran, Fletcher, Hone, &c, 
were present, voted in the majority, but did not speak. f 

This was but a brief space after Lord Clare had procured 
the giving of perjured testimony before the Secret Com- 
mittee of the House of Lords by which Henry Grattan w as 

* Historic Memoirs of Ireland. Vol. ii., p. 286, ed. 1825. 
t Memoirs and Correspondence of Viscount Castlereagh, second Marquis 
of Londonderry. Edited by his Brother. Vol. i„ pp. 343, 4. 

Told by its Plotters. 5 

charged with complicity in the plots of the United Irish- 
men. The consequences were exactly what they had been 
intended to be. The King, on the solicitation of those who 
were conspiring to subvert the parliamentary constitution 
of Ireland, ordered the name of the man who had lifted her 
to legislative independence to be blotted from his council 
roll, the Corporation of Dublin erased it from its list of 
freemen. Trinity College tore down his portrait from its 
walls, and such was the rancour of the Orange faction that, 
although Grattan remained in retirement at Tinnehinch, 
his life was actually in danger. On this subject Grattan's 
son has written as follows : — 

The object of those in power and their underlings — what might 
almost be called the "order of the day" — seemed to be to get one 
man to swear against another, and on the slightest information 
the person was taken up and sent to Dublin Castle or to jail. I 
recollect to have heard that some of the furious self-styled 
loyalists used to exclaim, " Will no one swear against Grattan ?" 
and I remember on one occasion great alarm was excited in the 
neighbourhood of Tinnehinch by the sergeant of the yeomanry 
corps coming up the road at lull gallop and his sabre drawn, 

exclaiming, "Such a man, by ! has sworn against Grattan !" 

The people were also thrown into a state of the greatest terror 
by the Ancient Britons, who were quartered in the county, who 
frightened the inhabitants and committed the greatest excesses.* 

Had it not been for the wisdom of his friends, who in- 
duced him to visit England in order to give evidence on 
the trial of Arthur O'Connor — evidence which secured the 
acquittal of the prisoner — he would almost certainly have 
'been murdered by judicial process or otherwise. We find 
a letter amongst Lord Castlereagh's papers written at this 
period, and evidently in reply to one from him, which it 
may be well to quote. The conspiracy, it is right to re- 
member, which was being worked, was one by dishonest and 
traitorous Irishmen against others of their countrymen who 

* Memoirs of Henry Grattan. By his Son. Vol. iv., pp. 377, 8. 


The Story of the Union: 

were loyal to Ireland. The letter we have mentioned is in? 
the following words : — 

Duke-street, London, September 29, 1798. 
My Lokd — Your lordship will receive, as soon as possible (pro- 
bably by the middle of next week), the official letter conveying 
his Majesty's pleasure to the Lord Lieutenant that the name of 
Mr. Grattan be struck out of the list of his Majesty's Privy 
Council in Ireland. I send your lordship, in the meantime, ail 
that appears in the council-books here of the manner in which 
Mr. Fox's name was erased by his Majesty. — I have the honour 
to be, &c, 

William Wickham.* 

Is it possible for anyone to read this letter and to notice 
its wording, its promise that Castlereagh would receive " as- 
soon as possible " the official communication he evidently 
hungered for, and to doubt that he had been urging, in a 
manner which almost angered his English correspondent, 
the speedy completion of the sentence of degradation which 
he desired to see passed on Grattan ? 

The truth is that in order to arrive at a proper under 
standing of what was going on at this time it is above all 
things necessary to endeavour to discover the true character 
of the men who were engaged in promoting the Union.. 
We have shown, under his own hand, what manner of man 
Cooke was. Let us now examine the character of one of his 
principal confederates, another of the knot of individuals, 
who shared the virtuous confidences of Mr. Pitt and Lord 
Castlereagh. During Lord Fitzwilliam's too brief vice- 
royalty he had dismissed from office the notorious John 
Beresford. By this action he had aroused the bitterest 
hostility on the part of the Orange faction, and rendered his 
own retention of the viceroyalty impossible. Lord Fitz- 
william himself declared in the English House of Lords, and 
declared with good reason, that the origin of the conspiracy 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh, Vol. i, p. 382. 

Told by its Plotters. 


against him, which resulted in his recall, was his dismissal 

of Beresford from the lucrative and important positions 

which he had held during many years. The ex-viceroy did 

not fear on another occasion to give his reasons for this 

dismissal. He said : 

Now for the great question about Mr. Beresford. In a letter of 
mine to Mr. Pitt on this subject I reminded him of a conversa- 
tion in which I had expressed to him my apprehensions that it 
would be necessary to remove that gentleman, and that he did 
not offer the slightest objection, or say one single word in favour 
of Mr. Beresford. This alone would have made me suppose that 
I should be exempt from every imputation of breach of agree- 
ment, if I determined to remove him ; but when, on my arrival 
here {i.e., Dublin), I found all those apprehensions of his dangerous 
power, which Mr. Pitt admits I had often represented to him, 
were fully justified ; when he was filling a situation greater than 
that of the Lord Lieutenant ; and when I clearly saw that if I 
had connected myself with him it would have been connecting 
myself with a person under universal heavy suspicions, and sub- 
jecting my Government to all the opprobrium and unpopularity 
attendant upon his maladministration. What was, then, to be 
my choice, what the decision I had to form ? I could not hesitate 
a moment. I decided at once, not to cloud the dawn of my ad- 
ministration, by leaving in such power and authority so much 
imputed malversation."* 

* A contemporary writer in the Annual Register thus refers to Beres- 
ford's dismissal and to the intrigue which resulted in his restoration and the 
recall of Lord Fitzwilliam :— On the appointment of a new viceroy, it is 
natural to suppose that some removals r.nd changes in the administration 
of the country would be absolutely necessary. These had been fully can- 
vassed in the British Cabinet previous to the departure of the noble earl : 
and if we may credit his testimony, corroborated by the solemn assertion of 
the two Messrs. Ponsonby and that of Mr. Grattan, in the Irish House of 
Commons— these measures had been as fully and decidedly agreed to by 
the British Ministers as the necessity of giving way to the Catholic claims, 
should they be pressed upon them. Among these removals, the most re- 
markable was that of Mr. Beresford— a gentleman who had united in his 
own person, or that of his son, the important and discordant offices of 
Minister, Commissioner of the Treasury, Commissioner of the Revenue., 
Counsel to these Commissioners, Storekeeper and Banker— a gentleman 
with whom, if the Lord Lieutenant had connected himself, "it would," 
according to his lordship's own expressions, " have been connecting himself 
with a person under universal heavy suspicions, and subjecting his Govern- 
ment to all the opprobrium and unpopularity attendant on his maladminis- 
tration." It was at the instance of the Duke of Portland himself that Mr. 
Beresford was to be dismissed; and he retired on a pension of £3,000 per 
annum, leaving his family in the possession of an enormous mass of offices 
and emoluments which had been heaped upon them by the bounty of pre- 
ceding viceroys. Mr. Beresford, immediately upon his dismissal, repaired 
to England, and, it is believed, found little difficulty in persuading the 
Ministry to undo all that they had positively agreed to, if not actually pro- 
jected, and to disregard in the most unaccountable manner the most solemn 

8 The Story of the Union: 

Beresford possessed enormous wealth, generally supposed 
to have been secured at the expense of the national income, 
a not impossible feat, seeing that he was permitted, in a 
period when Customs and Excise duties were numerous and 
onerous, to combine the apparently inconsistent characters 
of Commissioner of Revenue and of shipowner and merchant 
at the same time.* His political power was, as described 
by Lord Fitzwilliam, enormous. He was bigoted and 
corrupt, while he was hated and distrusted by the majority 
of his countrymen. Yet it is to this man, whom the honest 
Viceroy had dismissed from office as one unfit to remain 
in the service of the Government, that we find Mr. Pitt 
ready to turn for advice and counsel almost at the inception 
of his project for a Union. 

Upon this point absolute proof exists. On the 17th 
October, 1798, Lord Auckland wrote to Beresford : — 

The opinions lead towards a Union, strictly Protestant, and on 
the principle of not changing the constitution of either kingdom 
in Church or State. Mr. Pitt is very desirous to send you a 
summons to come over for a few conferences, but I wish to 
postpone his decision on that point till I can see Lord Clare, and 
learn how far it would be convenient or practicable. f 

On the 9th November, 1798, Lord Auckland wrote, from 
his residence at Eden Farm, to Beresford, who had then 
reached London, as follows : — 

I heartily rejoice to hear of your safe arrival. . , . Your 
first business will be to see Mr. Pitt, and to have a full con- 
versation with him. You know that you may talk with him with 
the most unreseived confidence. He will not commit your name, 
nor mention one word of what you s t ay, except to me, to whom 
you would choose to have it known. J 

Up to this the movements and intrigues of the conspirators 

p/^^iSlio^fTsoV 116 State ° f Ireland ' Francis PWden. VoUL, 

ai^^lTp* Eight Hoa - John beresford, Edited by his 
J Ibid. p. 1SS. 

Told by its Plotters. 

had been carried on as secretly as possible. It would have 
been unwise to have allowed their objects to become clearly 
known. On the 1st November, 1798, Lord Cornwallis 
wrote from Dublin Castle to Pitt in the following words : — 

From the prejudices and the various interests of people in this 
country a considerable opposition to the Union must be expected 
in the Irish Parliament in whatever shape that business may be 
submitted to their consideration. 

As soon, therefore, as some of the leading principles are settled, 
it would be expedient that we should have authority to com- 
municate them to our friends, to canvass in some degree the 
public opinion, and to endeavour to counteract any evil im- 
pressions by which the unwary may be induced to engage them- 
selves to oppose a measure which, on its being fairly represented 
to them, they might feel it their interest to support.* 

" Their own interest to support V In these words we 
have the keynote of the policy by which alone, as even 
so comparatively honest an intriguer as Lord Cornwallis 
seems to have realised, the projected Union could be 
carried. A fortnight before the letter last quoted was 
written, Lord Clare, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, another of 
the group of men who were plotting against their country, 
wrote from London to Lord Castlereagh : — 

Grosvenor-square, October 16th, 1798. 
My Dear Lord— I have seen Mr. Pitt, the Chancellor, and 
the Duke of Portland, who seem to feel very sensibly the critical 
situation of our damnable country, and that the Union alone can 
save it. I should have hoped that what has passed would have 
opened the eyes of every man in England to the insanity of their 
past conduct with respect to the Papists of Ireland ; but I can 
very plainly perceive that they were as full of their Popish pro- 
jects as ever. I trust, and I hope I am not deceived, that they 
are fairly inclined to give them up, and to bring the measure 
forward unencumbered with the doctrine of Emancipation. Lord 
Cornwallis has intimated his acquiescence in this point ; Mr. Pitt 
is decided upon it, and 1 think will keep his colleagues steadg.f * 

The importance of the words which we have italicised in 
this letter — a letter written in strict confidence from one 

* Correspondence of Charles, First Marquess Cornwallis. Vol. ii., p. 429. 
t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. i.,p. 393. 


The Story of the Union : 

colleague to another—will at once occur to everyone whe- 
lms knowledge, however scanty, as to the history of the 
period which was opening in October, 1798. Here we have 
emphatic and, as we think, conclusive evidence as to what 
Mr. Pitt's real state of mind was as regards the Catholic 
claims. Not only had the bigoted Irish Chancellor full 
confidence in his maintaining his expressed personal deter- 
mination, but he relied on him to " keep his colleagues 
steady " in their resistance to " Popish projects." What 
are we to think of the man and men who, with such know- 
ledge as this in their possession as to Mr. Pitt's views, 
remained silent while he and Lord Castlereagh were busy 
seeking to delude the Catholics and their prelates into 
belief that the passage of an Act of Union would be the 
prelude to their emancipation % What, on the other hand, 
are we to think of Mr. Pitt if we conclude that he was- 
sincere in his advances to the Catholics, but false and 
treacherous towards Lord Clare in his overwhelming desire 
to secure the interest and influence which would enable the 
destruction of the Irish Parliament? Mr. Gladstone has 
been found fault with for describing the Union and the 
policy which led up to it as being u blackguardly." It 
would be interesting to learn by what term those who assail 
his language would describe the conduct to which we now 
call attention, and on which Lord Clare's letter sheds a 
lurid light. 

The fact is, that it is not at all improbable that Pitt 
and Castlereagh designedly deceived Lord Clare. That they 
were capable of doing so abundant evidence exists to show. 
It is at least clear that Mr. Pitt either fooled Lord Clare 
with false professions, or sought to delude the Catholics 
with promises he never meant to keep. The Chancellor 
was bigoted, arrogant, and ambitious, but he was a powerful 
factor in Irish politics. Barrington says of him that — 

Told by its Plotters. 


" He hated powerful talents, because he feared them, and 
trampled on modest merit because it was incapable of re- 
sistance. Authoritative and peremptory in his address ; 
commanding, able, and arrogant in his language ; a daring 
contempt for public opinion seemed to be the fatal principle 
which misguided his conduct ; and Ireland became divided 
between the friends of his patronage — the slaves of his 
power — and the enemies to his tyranny. . . . Though 
he intrinsically hated a Legislative Union, his lust for 
power induced him to support it ; the preservation of office 
overcame the impulse of conviction, and he strenuously sup- 
ported that measure, after having openly avowed himself 
its enemy."* 

Such was another of the group of men whose conduct we 
are tracing by means of the correspondence which is at our 

* Historic Memoirs of Ireland. Vol. i., pp. 20-22. 


The Story of the Union : 


On the 10th November, 1798, John Beresford wrote from 
London to Lord Castlereagh in the following words : — 

My Dear Lord— I this day saw Mr. Pitt, and had a long 
conversation with him, by which I find that he is extremely 
anxious on the subject we conversed upon, but not yet determined 
on any plan. I represented to him the necessity of taking some 
immediate measures in order to know what might be the opinion 
of gentlemen, and to prevent improper advantage being taken of 
Government, in which he agreed, and said that when the Chan- 
cellor got over that would be settled.* 

This, it is well to remember, was written nearly a month 
after Mr. Pitt had allowed the Chancellor to leave him 
impressed with the belief that he might be relied on to 

keep his colleagues steady," with reference to the Catholic 
claims, and yet this letter would seem to show that even to 
Beresford he did not lay bare his whole mind. His state- 
ment, reported by that individual in his letter to 
Castlereagh which we have just quoted, that he had 
" not yet determined on any plan," reads curiously side by 
side with one written two days later by the Duke of 
Portland to the Marquis Cornwallis. This letter was 
marked " secret and confidential." It proves Pitt to have 
made much greater progress towards " determining on a 
plan " than he thought it prudent to lead Beresford to 
suppose. He was in all probability too astute to wholly 
trust an Irishman who was base enough to be his con- 
spirator, but the fact remains that he undoubtedly lied to 
Beresford. The document in question was dated from 

hi tehall, and ran as follows : — 

i iORD — I have the honour of sending your Excellency 
i*d i lie heads of a Treaty of Union between this kingdom 
and Creland, in which the King's confidential servants are of 

* Correspondence of Right Hon. John Beresford. Vol. ii., p. 189. 

Told by its Plotters. 


opinion that all the great interests of that country have been 
so fully and impartially attended to that no material difficulty 
can occur in the completion of that measure, the necessity of 
which must be now no less apparent than its advantages. 

I shall reserve for a separate letter such suggestions as I con- 
ceive your Excellency will expect to receive from hence, re- 
specting the manner in which it may be wished that the 
outlines which are herewith communicated to you should be 
filled up, and they shall be accompanied by such observations 
and explanations as they seem to require. But as I understand 
that the question of a Union is become a very general subject 
of discussion, and that consequently the friends of Government 
must be anxious to know the ideas as well as the wishes of 
Administration upon it, I have determined to transmit this plan 
to your Excellency that you may be enabled, without further loss 
of time, to satisfy the expectations of your friends and to 
bring forward the measure in such manner as you shall judge 
most likely to facilitate and insure its success. — I have, &c, 


There is no need to reproduce in these pages the u plan* 
enclosed in the Duke's letter. Those who are anxious to 
peruse it can read it for themselves in the pages of the 
Cornwallis Correspondence, t the fact that it existed at 
the time it did is sufficient to convict Pitt, at least, of un- 
scrupulosity in his conversations with Beresford, who 
remained in London until after Christmas, detained during 
portion of the time by severe illness, % consoled only by the 
knowledge that even if no " plan " had been decided on, the 
determination of Pitt to secure a Union was unchanged,§ a 
determination which led him to seek to make himself all 
things to all men in order to secure such assistance as 
they could give him. 

Lord Clare had barely left London, confident that 
he could rely on Pitt against the Catholics, when a Mr. 
Elliott, Military Under-Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, 

* Cornwallis's Correspondence. Vol. ii., p. 437. 
t Cornwallis's Correspondence. Vol. ii., p. 437. 
t Beresford's Correspondence. Vol. ii., pp. 190-91. 
§ See letter from Lord Auckland to Beresford i» Beresford's Correspon- 
dence. Vol. ii., p. 192. 


The Story of the Union. 

who happened to visit that city, wrote on the 24th Octo- 
ber, 1798, to Lord Castlereagh : — 

I reached town yesterday, and have had a good deal of con- 
versation, both with the Duke of Portland and Mr. Pitt, on the 
topic of the Union. It has never, I understand, been in con- 
templation to put any restrictions on the power of the Legis- 
lature with respect to the future consideration of the Catholic 
claims ; but the leaning of the opinion of the Cabinet is against 
extending the privileges of the Catholic body at the present 
conjuncture. This sentiment appears to be partly the result 
of the embarrassment which, it is feared, might accrue from a 
proposition to alter the Test Laws in England, and partly to 
proceed from the difficulty which it is thought the Government 
here would experience in opposing the prejudices of its Protes- 
tant friends in Ireland. The latter is the argument which, I 
believe, has been chiefly relied on by Lord Clare ; and, I plainly 
perceive, it has operated powerfully on Mr. Pitt's mind.* 

Here we have powerful corroboration of the accuracy of 
Lord Clare's report as to the apparent resolve of Pitt, but 
luckily a still more valuable piece of testimony is in exist- 
ence. On October 27th, 1798, Lord Camden wrote from 
London to Lord Castlereagh a letter in which the following 
passage occurs : — 

Mr. Pitt is inclined most strongly to the Union on a Protestant 
basis. We have made little progress in our deliberations. + 

A few days later, on the 3rd November, 1798, we find 
Castlereagh writing as follows to Mr. Wickham 

I understand from Captain Taylor that Lord Cornwallis has 
been pleased to recommend an arrangement in favour of Major 
Sirr highly advantageous to his interest. The services Major 
Sirr has rendered to the King's Government, since I have been 
in office, are such as to make me feel it an incumbent duty to 
bear testimony, in the strongest terms, to his merits. § 

The kind of " service " which men like Major Sirr was 

rendering to " the King's Government" consisted in a 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. i., p. 404. 
t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. i., p. 412. 
X Under-Secretary to Duke of Portland. 

§ Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. i., p. 423. 
Major Sirr's " merit " consisted solely in the establishment of an abominable 
system of terrorism, sustained by "the gang" for which we have already 
seen Mr. Cooke seeking pensions. 

Told by its Plotters. 


series of generally illegal and, in every case, wholly mur- 
derous assaults upon unarmed and unoffending citizens. 
How Lord Cornwallis, who seems to have been honestly 
desirous of putting an end to the atrocities which were then 
of daily occurrence, can have been so blind as to misappre- 
hend the nature of Sirr's " services" is puzzling, but no 
doubt his arrest of Lord Edward Fitzgerald was an event 
calculated to cover a multitude of sins. It is difficult nowa- 
days to understand the depth and intensity of the terror 
which had been created at this period by the agents of Sirr 
and the other prominent members of the Orange party. 
This terror was unquestionably maintained with the full 
connivance of Lord Castlereagh, who felt that in the allow- 
ing of Orange ferocity to run riot lay the only hope of in- 
ducing many of the Catholics and most of their prelates 
to think that their best chance of obtaining immunity from 
torture and persecution consisted in the establishment of a 
union with England. 

There was absolutely no justice for the unfortunate 
man or woman suspected of sympathy with the United 
Irishmen. An incident occurred towards the close of 1798 
which was alone sufficient to show the true character of 
many of those who were intriguing in order to bring about 
a, Union. These were men of the class whom Grattan de- 
nounced when, on the 9th November, 1798, writing from 
Twickenham in defence of his loyalty, which had been so 
grossly and unwarrantably aspersed, he spoke of "the 
Irish faction, which was the secret mover of all the calumny 
and all the injustice" of which he complained, and which 
he declared stood " at the head of a bloody combination " 
which in its turn had "been the cause of all the evil which 
had befallen Ireland." Grattan proceeded : " I protest I do 
not know a faction which, considering the very small 
measure of their credit and ability, has done so much mis- 


The Story of the Union. 

chief to their king and country. They opposed the re- 
storation of the constitution of Ireland ; they afterwards 
endeavoured to betray and undermine it ; they introduced 
a system of corruption unknown in the annals of Parlia- 
ment." He added : " I repeat it, I do not know a faction 
more dangerous, more malignant, or more sanguinary."* 

This was the faction which was chiefly anxious to secure 
union with England. What manner of men it was com- 
posed of the incident to which we have already referred 
will best show. Plowden, who was himself a contemporary 
observer of the facts which he relates, thus describes it. 
He says : — " The Earl of Enniskillen, who ranked as a 
colonel in the army, had ever been prominently zealous 
for the system of coercion and severity. . . . On the 
13th of October a courtmartial, of which he was president, 
proceeded to the trial of Hugh Woilaghan, of Middleswood* 
in the county of Wicklow, yeoman, charged with having > 
on the 1st October, gone to the house of Thomas Doherty, 
and then and there shot and killed him." The prisoner 
had been guilty of afoul and brutal murder. Accompanied 
by other members of the yeomanry corps to which he be- 
longed, he had shot to death, in the arms of his agonised 
mother, a poor country boy. Mrs. Doherty told the story 
before the courtmartial. She described how Woilaghan 
and his comrades burst into her house, seeking her 
husband, who w 7 as absent. She told how they pointed their 
guns, cursing and swearing at the same time, at her son,, 
how she strove to turn the deadly weapons aside, 
and she w r ent on to tell that she " got hold of Wollaghan's, 
gun, and endeavoured to tarn it from her son, upon 
which the gun went off, grazed her son's body, and shot him 
in the arm. The boy staggered, leaned on a form, turned 

* Plowden's Historical Keview of the State of Ireland. 

Vol. iii.,p. 807. 

Told by its Plotters. 


up his eyes, and said : ' Mother, pray for me !' That on 
Wollaghan's firing the gun he went out at the door, and in 
a short time returned in again, and said : 1 Is not the dog 
dead yet V That deponent replied : 6 Oh ! yes, sir, he is 
dead enough !' upon which Wollaghan replied, firing at him 
again : ' For fear he be not, let him take this.' Deponent 
was-at this time holding up her son's head, when he fell and 

We do not quote this tale of murder without good 
reason. Wollaghan was brought, as we have said, before 
a military tribunal of which Lord Enniskillen was pre- 
sident. After a brief investigation, in which, however, the 
strongest evidence of his guilt was produced, the prisoner 
was acquitted. The tribunal in question, it is necessary to 
remember, was a permanent one. It had tried and sen- 
tenced to the gallows, to the triangles, or to the dungeons 
of Newgate, hundreds of " suspected " rebels. It had 
uniformly vindicated the reputation of aspersed loyalists. 
It consisted of its president, Lord Ennisillen, a major, and 
three captains of the 5th Dragoons, one officer of the Fer- 
managh militia, and one of the 68th regiment of the line. 
The verdict of these gentlemen was in the following 
words : — " This court do find that the prisoner did shoot 
and kill Thomas Doherty, a rebel, but do acquit him of 
any malicious or wilful intention of murder. "t 

This vile outrage upon every principle of justice was 
too much for Lord Cornwallis, who, be it said, seems to 
have been throughout his career an earnest opponent of 
military licence and tyranny. In India, as well as 
Ireland, he repeatedly interfered to protect the natives 
from outrage on the part of the soldiery under his com- 

* Plowden's Historical Keview of the State of Ireland. Vol. iii., p. 811 
t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol ii., p. 422. 



The Story of the Union. 

mand. He, however, was an English gentleman, and de- 
serves to be regarded from a very different standpoint 
from that from which we are compelled to view those 
traitorous Irishmen who leagued against their country. 
On the - 17th October he had written Pitt : — " It has always 
appeared to me a desperate measure for the British 
Government to make an irrevocable alliance with a small 
party in Ireland (which party has derived all its conse- 
quence from, and is, in fact, entirely dependent upon, the 
British Government) to wage eternal war against the 
Papists andPresbyterians of this kingdom, which two sects, 
from the fairest calculations, compose about nine- 
tenths of the community."* Cornwallis was, undoubtedly, 
anxious for the Union, but he was chiefly desirous 
of its securing, in order to bring about the destruc- 
tion of the corrupt faction which had been powerful 
enough to achieve the recall of Lord Fitzwilliam, which had 
threatened the life of Henry Grattan, by whom it had been 
so often denounced, and the chiefs of which thought they 
saw in the betrayal of the native legislature of the country 
the best hope of their own permanent retention of power. 
To any man of right feeling the decision of the courtmartial 
would, of course, have seemed abominable ; to Cornwallis it 
was intolerable. He at once ordered his aide-de-camp to 
write the following letter to the General commanding the 
troops in the Dublin district, Sir James Craig : — 

Dublin Castle, Oct, 18th, 1798. 
Sir— Having laid before the Lord Lieutenant the proceedings 
of a general courtmartial held by your orders in Dublin barracks 
on Saturday, the 13th instant, of which Colonel the Earl of 
Enniskillen was President, I am directed to acquaint you that 
his Excellency entirely disapproves of the sentence of the abov? 
court-martial, acquitting Hugh Wollaghan of a cruel and de 
liberate murder, of which by the clearest evidence he appears tf 
have been guilty. 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. ii., p. 420. 

Told by its Plotters. 


Lord Cornwallis orders the court-martial to be immediately 
dissolved, and directs that Hugh Wollaghan shall be dismissed 
from the corps of yeomanry in which he served, and shall not be 
received into any other corps of yeomanry in this kingdom. 

His Excellency further desires that the above may be read to 
the President and members of the court-martial in open court. — 
I have, &c., 

H. Taylor. 

P.S. — lam also directed to desire that a new court-martial may 
be immediately convened, for the trial of such prisoners as may be 
brought before them, and that none of the officers who sat upon 
the trial of Hugh Wollaghan be admitted as members." 

This most wise and creditable letter produced a perfect 
storm of indignation amongst the leading members of the 
faction who were the obedient tools of Beresford, Clare, 
Cooke, and Castlereagh. We have evidence of their feeling 
with reference to it in a letter written by Lord Camden to 
Lord Castlereagh on the 4th November, 1798. This 
document is marked " secret," and commences " Dear 
Castlereagh." It contains the following passages : — 

By a short letter I wrote you, you may have perceived the 
opinion I entertain of the letter written by Captain Taylor to 
General Craig. I think the ends of justice would have been 
completely answered by a disapprobation of the sentence was 
the case perfectly clear ; and the warmest advocate for discipline 
must have been satisfied with the farther step of dissolving the 
courtmartial : but to add that no member who sat on the court- 
martial should be chosen for the future ones is very severe. 

How long is it, my dear Lord C , since toe ordered an ex- 
clusive armament of supplementary yeomen in the North, and 
of Mr. Beresford 's corps in Dublin? How many months have 
elapsed since ice could not decidedly trust any bodies of men 
but those who are now so highly disapproved of ? 

I hardly know how to write it under your circumstances, 
but I rather conjecture from your silence that your opinion on 
this letter is not widely different. 

The great question of Union will be hurt by this measure, as, 
however unjustly, it will indispose, I fear, a very important 
party to whatever seems to be a favourite measure of Govern- 
ment, f 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. ii., pp. 421, 22. 
t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. VoL L, pp, 425, 20. 

20 The Story of the Union. 

Cornwallis's honesty and love of justice were near secur- 
ing him the fate of Lord Fitzwilliam. He had angered and 
insulted the Orange faction. On the 9th November, 1798, 
Cooke wrote to Castlereagh : — 

Under all circumstances, I think your lordship a bald man, and 
I hope you will be a successful one. What you have already 
experienced, and what I wrote to your lordships of Lord Corn- 
wallis's sentiments in expressing himself to the speaker, prove 
that you have no pliant twig to manage. Another point is. that 
Lord Cornwallis does not seem to have any clear and deter- 
minate scheme and purpose, though he may have general inclina- 

Cooke and Company had such very " clear and deter- 
mined schemes 99 of their own that they could not under- 
stand any man supposed to be a friend of theirs allowing 
his sense of right to induce him to forbid the terrorism 
which was part and parcel of their " scheme." The letter 
from which we quote proceeded : 

As to Union, I think the cry seems generally against it. The 
lawyers are at present quiet, conceiving it abandoned. The 
Catholics seem inclined to it, I suppose because the Protestants 
are averse. I think M'Kenna could write a good pamphlet in 
favour of it.* 

" The cry seems generally against it." Of the truth of 
this statement there is, at any rate, little doubt. The ques- 
tion which the promoters of the measure had now to con- 
sider was as to the best means of getting rid of the opposition 
which undoubtedly existed. To do this, class should be 
pitted against class, creed against creed, one set of men 
threatened, another deluded by false promises, and a 
third, more worthless and more corrupt, bribed into 
miserable acquiescence in the degradation of their country. 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. i., pp. 431,2. The 
letter went on to say : " Tone is to be tried to-morrow. He rests his defence 
on being a French officer, and Lord Kilwarden wishes he had been tried 
at Deny." 

Told by its Plotters. 


On the 16th November, 1798, Lord Camden wrote to Lord 

Castlereagh in the following words : — 

You will have seen the Articles of Union* which have been 
transmitted to Lord Cornwallis, together with the instructions 
which accompanied them. It appears to me that he is authorised 
to speak confidently with the principal persons in Ireland, to 
apprise them of the outlines of the plan, and by that means so 
to pledge Government to the attempt as to impress the minds of 
those who are spoken to upon the subject with the idea of its 
being seriously intended to carry it by Great Britain. That it 
wouid have been wiser to have receive 1 the voice, and the con- 
versation, and the influence of some leading characters, before 
this authority had been given, I have little doubt ; but, since 
Lord Cornwallis is so far authorised, and, I doubt not, has com- 
mitted himself, 1 conclude you have only one line to follow — 
viz., to talk a firm and decided language ; to find out, by as 
much address as possible, the expectations of individuals, and the 
objections of bodies of men ; and to lose no time in securing the 
one, and counteracting the other. f 

Lord Camden was too astute and too old a political cam- 
paigner not to realise how alone the contemplated Union 
could be attained. His advice to his more than apt pupil, 
Castlereagh, " to find out the expectations of individuals," 
and "to lose no time in securing theni," was a direct and 
clear incentive to the adoption of that gross and abominable 
system of corruption which was for all time to vitiate the 
measure, the passage of which it was intended to facilitate. 
Lord Camden proceeded : — 

I have had, and Mr. Pitt has also had, a long conversation 
with Forster. £ He is against the measure. He describes the 
public mind to be against it, and recommends delay. However, 
I conjecture, if he finds the measure determined upon here he 
will not take an active part against it. I know how important a 
man he is, and if we fail of making an impression upon him 
here you must gain him over in Ireland. I was very happy to 
hear him speak in the warmest terms of you and rejoice in your 
appointment. § 

These were those enclosed in the letter of the Duke of Portland to 
•Lord Cornwallis, dated November 12th, 179S, already quoted in extenso. 
•See CornwalhYs Correspondence, vol. ii., p. 437, for the articles. 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. L, pp. 44S, 49. 

+ The Eight Hon. John Forster, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons. 

§ Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. i., pp. 448, 9. 
It is important to bear in mind that Forster was an unrelenting anti- 
Catholic, and that his opposition to the Union was mainly based on fear, 
lest its passage would lead to the emancipation of the majority of his 


The Story of the Union 

Luckily, however, we have a report of Pitt's interview 
with Forster, referred to in this letter, written by himself, 
which is far too important not to be quoted. It shows the 
English Minister to have been a suggester of and participator 
in the system of bribery by which venal Irish representatives 
were tempted to betray the liberties of their country. It 
is true that Forster eventually rejected the advances of the 
tempters, but we do not forget that his determination to 
oppose the Union was taken nearly as much because of his 
dislike of his Catholic fellow-countrymen as because of his 
objections to the measure. Even, however, if the Speaker 
had accepted the bribes which were pressed upon him, the 
fact would in no way mitigate the rascality — nay, we will 
even adopt Mr. Gladstone's words, and say the black- 
guardism, of the conduct revealed in the letter of Mr. Pitt 
which we have next to quote. 

Told by its Plotters. 



Pitt's words speak for themselves and best enable us 
to judge the character of the man. His letter ran as 
follows : 

Downing-street, London, Nov. 17, 1798."" 
My Dear Lord — I have had a great deal of conversation 
with the Speaker, who arrived here on Wednesday. I found 
him in his manner perfectly cordial and communicative, and 
though in his own general opinion strongly against the measure of 
an Union (particularly at the present moment), yet perfectly 
ready to discuss the point fairly. I think also that, supposing 
the general measure to he resolved on, he does not see any 
material difficulty or objection likely to arise in the detail of 
the measure, if executed comformable to the sketch which you 
have received from the Duke of Portland, and of which I 
showed the Speaker a copy 

On the whole, though he wished his conversation to he consi- 
dered confidential, and I am, therefore, not at liberty to make 
any but this confidential use of it, I think I may venture to say 
that he will not obstruct the measure ; and rather hope, if it can 
be made palatable to him personally {which I believe it may) that 
he will give it fair support. + It would, as it seems to me, be well 
worth while for this purpose to hold out to him the prospect 
of an English peerage with, if possible, some ostensible situa- 
tion, and a provision for life to which he would be naturally en- 
titled on leaving the chair. ... In the interval, previous 
to your Session, there will, I trust, be full opportunity for com- 
munication and arrangement with individuals, on whom I 
am inclined to believe the success of the measure will wholly 
depend. X 

Is it possible to doubt that this letter reveals Pitt as the 
instigator of a gigantic system of bribery and corruption as 
a means to the securing of the Union ? We have to bear 
in mind that the letters which were passing at this period 
between the conspirators do not at all sufficiently reveal 

* The letter is endorsed by Lord CornwalhYs Secretary, "Received 
Nov. 21, 1798." 
t The italics in this letter are ours. 

X Correspondence of Marquis Cornwallis. Vol. h\, pp. 441, 42. 

24 The Story of the Union. 

the extent of the discreditable efforts they were making to 
bring about the acceptance of their scheme by a majority 
of the Irish House of Commons. Much passed in their 
private intercourse and communications with those whom 
they sought to corrupt which was never set down on paper. 
Nevertheless we shall find, as we proceed, that the guilt of 
the enemies of Ireland is provable under their own hands. 
Pitt's hint or direction as to "arranging with individuals" 
was acted on by Castlereagh as speedily as possible. On 
the very day on which it was received by the Lord Lieutenant 
we find him writing as follows to the Knight of Kerry :* — 

Phoenix Park, Nov. 21st, 1798. 
My Dear Sir— From the great personal regard I entertain for 
you, and the anxious desire 1 have that the King's Government 
should have the advantage of your assistance at a critical period, 
and in a measure of the last importance, I take the earliest 
opportunity of intimating to you in the strictest confidence, that 
the incorporation of the two countries by a legislative Union is 
seriously looked to as the best security for our future peace, and 
for the preservation of our present establishment. f 

The Knight did not leave the Chief Secretary long 
in suspense as to the nature of his reply. He wrote, almost 
immediately on receipt of Castlereagh's letter, expressing 
how " very sensible " he felt of " the honour " which had 
been " done him in communicating the very important 
arrangement which was in contemplation for a legis- 
lative Union of the two countries." He declared that 
his " mind could suggest no ground for delay " in the pro- 
motion of the project although he was fain to confess 

* Mr., afterwards Right Hon. Maurice Fitzgerald, Knight of Kerry, born 
December 29, 1774, died March 7, 1849. Commissioner of Revenue, 
1799 ; Lord of the Treasury from 1801 to April, 1807, and again from 
July, 1827, to January, 1828. He was afterwards Vice-Treasurer for 
Ireland from August to December, 1830, and Lord of the Admiralty from 
Dec, 1834, to April, 1835. He was one of Castlereagh's confidential agents 
in his communications with the chiefs of the Catholics relative to their 
attitude towards the Union. Fitzgerald's chief sub-agent in these negotia- 
tions was John O'Connell, of Grena, county Kerry, the eldest brother of 
Daniel O'Connell. 

t Correspondence of Marquis Cornwallis. Vol. ii.. p. 443. 

Told by its Plotters. 


that on his first entering on a political career he "had 
naturally felt an enthusiasm for the legislative independence 
3f his country."* The Knight was only a type of many 
of his colleagues. The Speaker, however, remained 
uncompromisingly hostile to the proposed measure. Ou 
the 23rd November Elliott wrote from London to Castle- 
reagh, telling him that Foster was u still adverse to 
a Union/' and that, from all he could hear, he thought 
it "dubious whether he would not entirely oppose it." 
The letter proceeded : " Parnell,i I understand, talks 
very loosely on the subject, but, on the whole, seems un- 
friendly to the measure." In point of fact, the Under-Secre- 
tary was in a depresssed frame of mind, and rather 
looked, he declared, to see the " project of a Union aban- 
doned" in consequence " of the numerous difficulties 
in which the arrangement was involved," and he blamed 
those who, in his opinion, had done much to produce these 
difficulties by refusing to lend any countenance to the 
claims of the Catholics.§ He did not know that his 
chief had already secured the services of the Knight of 

Ou the same day that Elliot was writing to Castlereagh 
Lord Cornwallis was writing to his friend Major-General 
Ross. Portion of his letter ran as follows : — 

Phoenix Park, Nov. 23, 1798. 
Dear Ross — My time has lately been much taken up with 
seeing, and breaking to the principal persons here, the pro- 
jected Union, and when you send for a man on such business, he 
must stay with you and talk to you as long as he likes. I have 
no great doubts of being able to carry the measure here, but 

* The Knight's letter is given in full in the Cornwallis Correspondence. 
Vol. ii., p. 444. 

t The Under Secretary. Seethe Castlereagh Correspondence. Vol. ii., 
pp. 9, 10. 

t Sir John Parnell and Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer. 
§ Correspondence of Viscount Castlereagh. Vol. ii., pp. 9, 10. 


The Story of the Union 

I have great apprehensions of the inefficacy of it after it is car- 
ried, and I do not think it would have been much more difficult 
to have included the Catholics. 

It is, at any rate, plain from this letter that Cornwall^ 
regarded the policy of Pitt as being distinctly adverse to the 
Catholics. We have him in this letter declaring his belief, a 
belief which was to be only too fully justified, that the pro- 
jected Union would prove " inefficacious," because of the 
measure containing no provision for the emancipation of 
the Catholics. The Marquis went on to describe to his Eng- 
lish correspondent the class of men whom he found in 
possession of power in Ireland, those who, like the Beres- 
fords, had long battened on the spoils of the country ; and 
the not dishonest old soldier made no effort to disguise 
the contempt with which he regarded them. He con- 
tinued : — 

Those who are called principal persons here, are men who have 
been raised into consequence only by having the entire disposal 
of the patronage of the Crown in return for their undertaking 
the management of the country, because the Lords-Lieutenants 
were too idle or too incapable to manage it themselves. They 
are detested by everybody but their immediate followers, and 
have no influence but what is founded on the grossest corrup- 

It was because of the efforts of one body of Irishmen 
to destroy the powder of the knot of individuals referred to 
by Cornwallis, that the course of action was entered on 
which resulted in provoking the rebellion which deluged 
Ireland with blood, and it was because of the ever-present 
danger of the Irish Parliament once again manifesting 
the same spirit it had displayed in 1782, and revolting 
against the unscrupulous personages whose conduct excited 
the disgust of the English Viceroy, that the Union had 
been determined on. Castlereagh and Pitt were using 
for their own purposes the Beresforcls, Clares, Cookes, 

* Correspondence of Marquess Cornwallis. Vol. ii., p. 445. 

Told by its Plotters. 27 

Tolers, Scotts, etkoc genus omne, whom Cornwallis regarded 
with aversion and dislike, but who were the only Irishmen 
whom successive English administrations were willing to 
admit to power. 

Almost at the same moment when the Viceroy was writ- 
ing the letter which we have just quoted, Castlereagh was 
inditing another to his correspondent Wickham, giving hi3 
views as to the probable prospects of the intended measure. 
He told him that " it would be hazardous to give any 
opinion so early on the public disposition towards an Union," 
and that the question had " not yet been agitated by either 
parties with that spirit which rendered it easy to collect 
the general impression/' He complained strongly of tho 
opposition likely to be offered by the members of the Bar 
and the citizens of Dublin generally, but he protested his 
belief that the rest of the country would be more amenable.* 

* It was not wonderful that, leaving all question as to their national feel- 
ings aside, the citizens of Dublin were hostile to the measure. The fol- 
lowing Peers maintained permanent residences in the metropolis. Their 
annual expenditure was alone sufficient to secure the prosperity of its shop- 
keepers and traders. In Kildare-street lived the Duke of Leinster, Earl of 
Portarlington, Viscount Harberton, and Baron Kossmore. In Marlborough- 
street— Marquis of Waterford, Baron Yelverton, and Earl of Annesley. In 
Rutland-square— Earl of Ormonde, Earl of Darnley, Earl of Charlemont, Earl 
of Bective, Earl*of Longford, Earl of Farnham, Earl of Enniskillen, Earl 
of Erne, Viscount Wicklow, and Viscount Caledon. In St. Stephen's-green 
—Earl of Meath, Earl of Milltown, Earl of Eoden, Earl of Clanwilliam 
Earl of Mount Cashel, Viscount Hawarden, Viscount Oxmantown, 
Viscount Carleton, and Baron Somerton. In Usher's Island— Earl 
of Granard. In Gardiner"s-row— Earl of Carrick and Earl of Eoss. 
In Henrietta-street— Earl of Shannon, Earl of Kingston, Viscount Mount- 
joy, and Viscount O'Neill. In Great Denmark-street— Earl of Belve- 
dere, Earl of Aldborough, and Baron Tullamore. In Dominick-street— Earl 
of Howth. In Sackville-street— Earl of Altamount, Earl of Glandore, Earl 
of Leitrim, Earl of Belmore, Viscount Southwell, Viscount Gosford, Viscount 
Perry, and Baron Sanderlin. In M errion-street— Earl of Mayo and Baron 
Kilmaine. In Harcourt-street— Earl of Clonmel and Baron Clonbrock. 
In Hume-street— Earl of Ely. In Ely-place— Earl of Clare and Baron Glen* 
tworth. In Harcourt-place— Earl of Conyngham. In Lower Gardiner-street 
—Viscount Molesworth. In William-street— Viscount Powerscourt. In 
Merrion-square— Viscount de Vesci, Baron Callan, Baron Longueville, 
and Baron Tyrawley. In Holies-street— Viscount Liftbrd and Viscount 
Castlestewart. In Dawson-street— Viscount Northland. In North Great 
George's-street— Viscount Kenmare and Baron Kilconnell. In Temple- 
street— Baron Lismore ; and in Clare-street— Baron Kilwarden. The united 
expenditure of these noblemen, added to that of upwards of one hundred 
and sixty wealthy members of the House of Commons, who maintained 
large town establishments, was not a matter of unimportance to the 

28 The Story of the Union. 

Two passages must be quoted from this letter. They are 
excellent as illustrations of the policy which Castlereagh was 
pursuing. He wrote : — 

We have secured Alderman James,* who has great weight, 
not only in the Corporation, but particularly in the Orange Lodges; 
he is eager for the question, considering the Prince of Wales and 
the Opposition as pledged to the Catholics ; this consideration 
will have great weight in that body, now both numerous and 

There appears no indisposition on the part of the leading Ca- 
tholics ; on the contrary, I believe they will consider any transfer 
of power from their opponents as a boon. I should hope that the 
proposed arrangement for the Catholic clergy will reconcile that 
body. Dr. Troy is perfectly well inclined. 

Every section of the community was being tampered 
with, the fears and prejudices and hopes of each were being 
played on by turns. Now, if the unscrupulous Chief Secretary 
were to have his will, it should be Alderman James and the 
Orange Lodges whose support should be sought for, and 
yet again it should be Dr. Troy and his priests whose 
anxiety for the interests of religion and for the freeing of 
their people from the intolerable tyranny of an oppressive 
and insolent faction should be made the means of securing 
their consent to the Government measure. Castlereagh 
went on to assure his friend that : 

The principal provincial newspapers have been secured, and 
every attention will be paid to the Press generally. + 

A mare open and unblushing confession of corruption 
was never put on paper by any politician. Its absolute 
blackguardism will hardly be denied by anybody. It is to 
be remembered that it was made to the official under-secre 
tary of the Duke of Portland, and that the fact that it was 

* This was Alderman William James, who was Lord Mayor of Dublin in 
1793, 94. He was father of the late Sir John Kingston James, who, as 
Lord Mayor received knighthood on the occasion of the visit of George 
IV. to the Irish capital. 

t The entire of this letter, which is very lengthy, will he found in the Corn- 
wallis Correspondence. Vol. ii., pp. 446-8. 

Told by its Plotters. 


intended as an official report for Pitt and his colleagues 
as to the progress of their plans in Ireland is indis- 

If it be thought that in charging Pitt with sympathy 
with the utterly unscrupulous policy avowed by Castlereagh 
in the letter last quoted we bring against him any accusa- 
tion unwarranted by his character, wc would ask those who 
are inclined to form such a conclusion to bear in mind the 
manner in which that statesman acted towards Lord 
Fitz william and Grattan previous to and during the 
viceroyalty of the former. Up to the very instant of Lord 
Fitzwilliarn's departure for Ireland he was duped by Pitt 
and his colleagues. The ex-viceroy, after his recall, in de- 
fending his conduct, declared that not only had he "satis- 
fied himself that the Catholics ought to be relieved from 
every remaining disqualification," but " the Duke of Port- 
land uniformly concurred with him in this opinion j* and 
when the question came under discussion previous to his 
departure for Ireland, he found the Cabinet, with Mr. Pitt 
at their head, strongly impressed with the same conviction." 
The earl adds — and his w T ords assuredly deserve to be 
borne in mind — " Had I found it otherwise I never would 
have undertaken the Government." That, eventually, he 
found it very much otherwise, it is needless to say. In 
August, 1794, Grattan heard, through Denis Bowes Daly, 
the Ponsonbys, and other leading members of the Irish 
Opposition, " of the favourable change which was likely to 
take place in the Government ; they requested him to use 
his best efforts to effect their common object ; told him 
that Mr. Pitt was friendly to Ireland ; that he had already 
shown himself friendly to the Catholics ; and had of old 
declared himself friendly to reform." On receipt of a letter 
from Lord Fitzwilliam, Grattan proceeded to London, but 
not before those who knew Pitt had had time sufficient to 


The Story of the Union. 

warn him of the character of the Minister with whom he 
was about to deal. Bowes Daly, who had served under 
him, told Grattan to beware of Pitt. "He was a good 
Minister for England, but a bad one for Ireland." Gerard 
Hamilton, who knew him intimately, told the Irish leader 
in prophetic words: "I would not trust Pitt, for depend 
upon it he'il cheat you." And again, in London, Sergeant 
Adair, an old friend of Pitt, who knew all the man's 
characteristics, said : " All that is to be done should be 
set down in writing, for if you have any dealings with Pitt 
he'll cheat you ; I never would act with him except I had 
pen, ink, and paper." 

Such was ths true character of the man, as borne 
witness to by his contemporaries, whom it is so much the 
habit nowadays amongst certain factionists to represent as 
the greatest of English statesmen and the most upright of 

On November 27th, 1798, Lord Cornwallis wrote as 
follows to the Duke of Portland : — 

As your Grace may wish to be informed of the particular sen- 
timents of the most leading characters, I think it necessary 
to mention that Lord Shannon, to whom I first addressed my- 
self, is impressed in the strongest manner with the difficulties 
and disadvantages of the present system, and is disposed to 
entertain the measure favourably ; at the same time his lordship 
wishes not to declare himself openly till he sees that his doing 
so can answer some purpose* 

Cornwallis proceeded : — 

Lord Ely ( relying on the favour of the Crown in an object per- 
sonal to himself) is prepared to give it his utmost support, f 

For his readiness to do the work required of him the 
Earl of Ely was made a marquis immediately on the passing 

* Cornwallis Correspondence. Vol. ii., p. 452. Lord Shannon was 
a Commissioner of the Treasury at the time in question. 

t Ibid. Lord Ely also held place as Assistant Postmastep-General at this 
period, and until his death in 1806. 

Told by its Plotters. 


of the Act of Union. After a passing reference to Viscount 
Perry, Cornwallis continued : — 

Lord Yelverton bad no hesitation upon the principle ; it met 
his full approbation. 

Lord Kihvarden expressed himself guardedly, but appeared to 
have no particular objection to the idea. 

The Attorney and Solicitor-General were very well disposed.""' 

The Viceroy concluded, after informing the Duke that 
the principal opposition to the projected measure " might 
be expected in Dublin," where the "fear of decay incident 
to a metropolis was likely to be much excited by the 
activity of the Bar," by assuring his correspondent that 
"every endeavour" should be " used to keep back, if pos- 
sible, opposition," and that he might be relied on for the 
" utmost efforts being directed to the furtherance of a 
great work, so important to preserve this kingdom in 
connection with Great Britain. f 

Three days before the date of the despatch of this 
letter Lord Castlereagh had written a report of the same 
interview to Beresford, who was still in London, and had 
also found time to write a clever diplomatic letter to 
Foster, whose antagonism to the Catholics he well knew. 
In this note he told the Speaker that the citizens were 
" disinclined to the measure," but that "some of their 
oracles" were "favourable to it, as the best means of 
preserving the Protestant State against the Irish Papists 
and their English supporters."! By the same post the 
Chief Secretary also wrote in affectionate terms to his 
"Dear Glentworth,"§ expressing the great regret with 
which he had learned of his absence from town, aa he 

* Cornwallis Correspondence. Vol. ii, p. 453. The names mentioned, it 
is needless to say, are all those of placeholders, 
t Cornwallis Correspondence, vol. ii., p. 454. 
t Castlereagh Correspondence. Vol. ii., pp. 17, IS. 
§ Lord Glentworth. Cornwallis Correspondence. Vol. ii., p. IS. 


The Story of the Union. 

11 should have wished much to have communicated with 
him very fully and confidentially on the great question 
which at present occupies all our attention." 

Castlereagh's energy and industry at this period were 
such as might well have been employed in a nobler cause 
than that to which he devoted them. The letters from 
which we have just quoted are only types of dozens of 
similar epistles which he daily despatched. He spared no 
flattery, no labour, no effort of any kind to win over 
peers and commoners alike to the support of the Union. 
On the 30th November, 1798, he had, however, to com- 
municate the disquieting intelligence contained in the fol- 
lowing letter to the Duke of Portland. He wrote from 
the Castle thus : — 

My Lord — What was apprehended and intimated by me to 
Mr. Wickham has happened Captain Saurin, who commands the 
Lawyer's Corps of Yeomanry, this day, in the Four Courts, 
ordered them to assemble on Sunday next to take into their 
consideration a question of the greatest national importance/''' 
Several of the members then present spoke in terms of the 
strongest disapprobation of so unwise and so unconstitutionalf 
an attempt, declared their determination to resist it, and urged 
him, but without effect, to abandon his purpose. The meeting 
will certainly take place, but I indulge a sanguine hope that the 
majority of the Bar, however adverse to the measure of an 
Union, will not be betrayed into so criminal a proceeding. 

Castlereagh concluded his letter by intimating to the 
duke that, as the events of the next week could not fail to 
be "peculiarly important," he felt compelled to defer 
for some days a journey which he had promised to make 
to London in order to report as to the progress of his 
schemes in Ireland. 

* These words are italicised in the original. They are probably an exact 
repetition of Saurin's. 

t The fact of those who were planning the destruction of the Irish Par- 
liament protesting against what they called "unconstitutional" proceed- 
ings, is an amusing instance of the misuse of words. 

% Cornwallis Correspondence. Vol. ii, pp. 457, 8. 

Told by its Plotters. 



Ox the oth December, 1798, Lord Cornwallis addressed 
an important letter to the Duke of Portland. In this docu- 
ment the Viceroy referred to the fact that Lord Castle- 
reagh expected to be ablo to leave Dublin for London on 
the following day ; and with a caution which may be 
commended, however tantalising to modern investigators, 
proceeded to say : " I beg leave to refer your Grace to 
Lord Castlereagh for the particular sentiments of the seve- 
ral persons who have been sounded since I last addressed 
your Grace/' and after some farther remarks continued 
as follows : — 

I am happy to observe that the leading Catholics, not- 
withstanding the measure is understood by them to be uncon- 
nected with any immediate extension of constitutional privi- 
leges to their communion, express themselves highly in its 
favour. Lord Fingal,* whose good sense is as- distinguished 
as his attachment to his Majesty's Government and to the 
British connection, has expressed much satisfaction that it was 
not meant to complicate the question of Union by attempting 
at present any change in the Test Laws. He considers it 
would be injurious to the Catholic claims to have them dis- 
cussed in the present temper of the Irish Parliaments and was 
satisfied it would hazard the success of the Union without serv- 
ing the Catholics, and considers it much more for their interest 
that the question should rest till it could be submitted in quieter 
times to the unprejudiced decision of the United Parliament, 
relying on their receiving hereafter every indulgence which could 
be extended to them without endangering the Protestant estab- 

The Earl seems to have beeu, as indeed he generally 

* Arthur James, eighth Earl Finjal. 

t Qualified, as it was, by the word, " present," the Earl's opinion was 
quite correct. At the moment at which he spoke the Parliament was hope- 
lessly antagonistic to the Catholics. This is a fact which it is absolutely 
necessary to bear in mind. Amongst those of its members who were 
opposed to the Union were many of the most bigoted opponents of the 
Catholic claims. 


34 The Story of the Union. 

was, somewhat unnecessarily meek and humble. What 
would have been his wonder had he lived to see the 
Parliament of the Union break down the identical " Pro- 
testant establishment" which he was content to see perpe- 
tuated ? The letter went on : — 

Lord Kenmare* joined in this sentiment (i.e., that ex- 
pressed by Lord Fingal), and is a warm advocate for the 
measure ; both these noblemen expressed an anxious wish to 
see the Catholic clergy less dependent on the lower orders 
by having a reasonable provision under the State. 

The paragraph which we have next to quote brings us 
to a branch of the subject with which we have undertaken 
to deal, which is, perhaps, best considered now. Lord 
Cornwallis continued : — 

Lord Castlereagh has seen Dr. Troy,f and finds his senti- 
ments perfectly correspondent with those of my Lord Fingal and 
Lord Kenmare. He expressed himself perfectly satisfied, pro- 
vided no bar to their future hopes made a part of the measure, 
and was ready to use his utmost influence in its support. 

Then Cornwallis proceeded to express his own opinion, 
and wrote thus : — 

Upon the whole it appears to me, as far as the dispositions of 
the Catholics have yet disclosed themselves, that there is every 
reason to expect from them a preference for the measure. An 
active support from that body would not, perhaps, be advanta- 
geous to the success of the Union. It would particularly in- 
crease the jealousy of the Protestants, and render them less 
inclined to the question. t 

It is difficult for Irish Catholics nowadays to fully 
realise the exact state of things which prevailed at the - 

* Valentine Browne, created in 1798 Baron of Castlerosse, and Viscount 
Kenmare, Earl of Kenmare in 1800. 

t The Most Rev. John Thomas Troy, Lord Archbishop of Dublin, was 
bora near Porterstown, county of Dublin, lOthMay, 1739. At tiften years 
of age he became a student at Rome, entering the Dominican Order in 
1756, passing from grade to grade until he became Rector of the famous 
old College of St. Clement's. In 1776 he was consecrated Bishop of 
Ossory, and in 1786 elevated to the See of Dublin. Dr. Troy died on the 
11th May, 1823. Those who would judge him fairly should consider the 
relative position of the Church in Ireland in 1739 and 1823. 

X Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh, Vol. vii.. dd. 

Told by its Plotters. 


time this letter was written. It is, however, essential for 
the purpose of a proper understanding of the conduct of 
many leading Catholics, whose words we shall have here- 
after to quote, and whose actions we must describe, that 
effort should be made to make clear the circumstances 
which influenced the course they took relative to the 
measure which Castlereagh and his friends were engaged 
in promoting. No greater mistake can possibly be made 
than for the people of one generation to judge the actions 
of their predecessors of another period by the standard of 
the ideas which prevail in their own time. Irish Catholics 
have now been emancipated so long that the practical evils 
of persecution are unknown to the descendants of those 
to whom in 1798 the terror of sectarian tyranny was a 
very real thing. Their limbs, so to say, still felt the chill 
clasp of ignoble fetters, many of them had known what it 
was to hold the earnings of a lifetime or the inheritance on 
which they depended for subsistence at the mercy of the 
informer and the spy. Many more amongst them remem- 
bered the days, not so long distant, when the Papist was, 
in the eyes of the law, as a pariah and an outcast, when 
his priest was a felon, and the administration of the Sacra- 
ments of his Church so many felonious acts, when the 
school-house of his children was the road or hill-side, when 
the law of the realm refused to recognise even the existence 
of a follower of the creed he professed. Before, therefore, 
we judge too harshly the actions of certain prominent 
Catholics with reference to the Union, let us be quite 
sure that we understand the true circumstances of their 

It is to be borne in mind that such was the state of 
the law at the period in question that no Catholic could 
sit or vote in Parliament, in either the House of Lords 
or Commons ; even their voting at elections for members 


The Story of the Union. 

of the latter assembly was hampered by legal difficulties, 
which in many cases amounted to a prohibition of the 
exercise of the franchise. Catholics were excluded from all 
the Corporations. In the case of Dublin they were ex- 
cluded from 248 important municipal offices; in other 
corporate towns from at least 3,300. In addition to this, 
in the capital they were shut out from 200 subordinate 
positions, and in the provinces from at least 1,000 more. 
In all, at least 4,748 municipal posts, either representative 
or official, were closed to Catholics. We who know Ire- 
land as she is to-day, who have no mind to return to the 
condition of things which made the state of affairs which 
is now described possible, will do well to weigh in our minds 
all that it signified before we hastily condemn the conduct 
of Dr. Troy and those who acted with him. The same 
system which closed civic life to Catholics shut them out 
from advancement in the legal professions. No Catholic 
could be a Judge, a King or Queen's Counsel, a Master in 
Chancery, a Chairman of Sessions or a Recorder, an Advo- 
cate in the Prerogative Courts, a Commissioner of Bank- 
ruptcy, a Sheriff or a Sub-Sheriff, a Proctor or even a Public 
Notary. As one who may be described as a contemporary 
writer puts it : " The consequential operation of the exclu- 
sion of the Catholics from all these offices reaches naturally 
and necessarily to all the beneficial subordinate situations. 
Such are those of Registrars to Judges and to Vicars- 
General, Secretaries, Deputies, Court Officers, Clerks of the 
Crown, Clerks of the Peace, Assistants in the various Law 
Offices, Solicitors and Treasurers to numerous public boards 
and establishments, agents, clerks to great public officers, 
&c. Of all these subordinate but lucrative offices we may 
reasonably estimate the actual number as exceeding 1,000. 
Thus," goes on the writer in question, " there appears to 
be a total number of nearly 1,500 offices connected with 

Told by its Plotters. 37 

the profession and administration of the laws which are in- 
terdicted to Catholics."* Iri addition, the Catholic was 
excluded from the army and navy • and at the very moment 
when the entire country was given up to the mercy of the 
soldiery, when no tribunals existed save those which were 
military and summary, the unfortunate Catholic impleaded 
on any charge knew that those who were to be the 
judges in his cause hated and despised the Faith which 
he professed. What this meant we have shown already 
in the account of the trial of Wollaghan, the yeoman. 
Again we say that those who would hastily condemn the 
conduct of Dr. Troy should bear these facts in mind 
before they attempt to pass judgment on his actions : 
while they must also remember that Castlereagh, falsely 
as we now know, was assuring the Archbishop and the 
leading Catholics that the Union was to be only the pre- 
liminary to an Emancipation Act. We know now that 
Castlereagh was lying, but Dr. Troy, or Lord Fiugal, or 
Lord Killeen did not know it. 

Further, it is necessary, in order to arrive at a proper 
conclusion relative to the motives which actuated Dr. Troy 
and many of his colleagues in the episcopacy, to form a 
proper understanding as to the actual constitution of the 
Irish Parliament at this period. The United Irishmen, who 
had striven in vain to reform it, thus described itt : — 

The present state of Ireland with regard to population is 
upwards of four millions, three of which are of the Catholic 
religion, and with regard to political freedom, the state of Pro- 
testant representation is as follows : 17 boroughs have no resident 
elector ; 16 have hut one ; 16 have from 2 to 5 ; 90 have 13 
electors each ; 90 persons return the members for 106 venal 
boroughs— that is 212 members out of 300, the whole number ; 
54 members are returned by 5 noblemen and 4 bishops, and 

* Scully's " Statement of the Penal Laws which Aggrieve the Catholics of 
Ireland." Dublin, 1812, pp. 110-112, et supra. 

t Address from the United Irishmen to the people of Ireland, dated 
October 26th, 1792. 

38 The Story of the Union. 

borough influence has given landlords such power in the counties 
as make them boroughs also ; 53 peers nominate 124 members and 
influence 10, so that 228 are returned by 105 individuals, leaving 
only 72 out of 300 to the free election of the people. One lord 
who nominates 4 members is not a peer of Ireland, and 11 lords 
who are Irish peers are absentees, and spend their fortunes out of 
the realm, to the representation of which they send their com- 
mands and are obeyed, notwithstanding two solemn votes of the 
Commons against this high infringement of their liberties and 
privileges. In short, representation, which in its nature is only a 
deposit, has been converted into a property, and that constitution 
which is founded on equal liberty, and which declares that no tax 
shall he levied without the "good-will " of the people, is totally 
perverted in its principles and corrupted in its practice. 

Was it possible for Dr. Troy, for any of his companions 
in the hierarchy, or for many of the Catholics of Ireland to 
be enamoured with such a state of things ? The United 
Irishmen had at first, wisely enough, endeavoured to bring 
about a peaceable reform of an intolerable condition o p 
affairs. Baffled in their efforts, they had recourse to th 
methods which led up to the rebellion of 1798, and whicW 
had for one of its principal objects not merely the reform, 
but the absolute destruction of the Parliamentary constitu- 
tion of Ireland. To them the Parliament was not one bit 
more sacred or immaculate than it was in the estimation 
of Dr. Troy. We of to-day know that both erred grievously 
in the view which they adopted, and in their failure to per- 
ceive that their wisest course would have been to continue 
to seek, through constitutional methods, the reform of the 
Parliament and the consequent removal from power of 
the intolerant Orange factionists who were growing rich on 
the plunder of the nation, and whose hireling supporters 
occupied so many seats in the House of Commons. When 
a bad, a bigoted, and a corrupt Parliament did so much 
for the prosperity of Ireland, it ought to have been plain 
to everyone that the same institution reformed and purified 
would do very much more. The English Parliament of the 
time was hardly one whit better than the Irish, but no one; 

Told by its Plotters. 39 

save a few fanatics, inoculated with French revolutionary 
ideas, proposed to destroy it. We can realise the full 
extent of the fatal error into which the United Irishmen, 
fully as much as Dr. Troy, fell ; but this is no reason why 
we should refuse to believe that both acted from creditable 
motives, or should deny them claim to have their actions 
judged as having been dictated by what they honestly 
believed to be the interests of their fellow-countrymen. 
Lord Edward Fitzgerald, in retiring from his position as 
one of the representatives of Kildare, issued the following 
address to the electors of that county : — 

Kildare, July 14th, 1797. 

I take this opportunity of thanking my fellow-citizens for 
the favour they conferred on me at the last general election. 

I hope the conduct I pursued since met their approbation. It 
was dictated by the purest motives and most fervent wish for 
the welfare and happiness of Ireland. 

I shall not offer myself at present as a candidate, feeling that 
under present circumstances there can be no free election in Ireland ; 
any return made will be only by sufferance of the nearest military 
commanding officer, What is to he expected from a Parliament 
returned under martial law? Looking to the true spirit of 
the British Constitution, / doubt if a body elected under such 
circumstances can be called a Parliament or its acts reckoned 
binding * 

I hope my fellow-citizens of the county of Kildare will not 
look on my declining to stand a candidate now as abandoning 
their interests. I trust to see a day when I shall offer myself 
to represent them in a Parliament that will he freely and fairly 
elected and can be venerated by all honest men. Though not 
your representative, believe me, always your faithful servant, 

Edward Fitzgerald. 

The Parliament which was about to be elected, and 
which Lord Edward described in these words, was that 
which passed the Union. 

* On this point O'Connell said—" Whilst the Union was in progress the 
Habeas Corpus Act was suspended —all constitutional freedom was annihi- 
lated in Ireland— martial law was proclaimed— the use of torture was fre- 
quent—liberty, life, or property had no protection— public opinion was 
'stifled— meetings legally convened by sheriffs and magistrates were dis- 
persed by military violence— the voice of Ireland was suppressed— the Irish 
people had no protection."— 44 Memoir on Ireland, Native and Saxon." 


The Story of the Union. 

The truth is, the condition of things in Ireland at the 
period with which we are dealing was curiously complex. 
Mr. Gladstone has endeavoured, and not without success, 
to describe the situation in the following words : — 

Sectarian bigotry, and the sense of national life, perhaps, are 
in general, certainly were in the Ireland of the eighteenth 
century, two social factors in essential and deadly hostility to 
one another. In proportion as the spirit mounts in the arteries 
of national life, so religious hatred sickens and dies away. 
And if it be sought to baffle and to paralyse the operation of 
genuine nationality, there is no better mode than to set up 
that unchristian Christianity which makes men hate one another 
on account of differing beliefs. The reason is evident enough. 
The spirit of nationality, supplying to the entire nation a common 
source of life, fuses them into a mass ; the spirit of sectarian 
bigotry draws them off from that in which they agree, and in- 
flames them on that in which they differ. Because the spirit of 
national life was fresh and buoyant, the Irish Parliament in both 
its Houses fought gallantly to support Lord Fitzwi'iiim against 
his deposition by the British Cabinet. Because it was too fresh 
and buoyant for the " junto of monopolists" in Dublin, whose 
puppet in a deplorable policy the British Cabinet condescended to 
be, the Orange Lodges w r ere called into existence, and the feuds 
revived which brought about the rebellion of 1798.* 

Dr. Troy's error was nearly identical with that of Lord 
Edward Fitzgerald and the United Irishmen. Like 
them he despaired of the constitutional reform of the 
Irish Parliament, and while they sought the destruc- 
tion of Orange tyranny through the path of insurrection 
and separation, he believed it could be secured from union 
with England, and through the goodwill of the English 
people. He had seen, in the words of one who was a per* 
sonal observer of the events with which we are dealing, t 
" by a recent Act of the same Legislature, the magisterial 
delinquent screened from justice, and the murderer and 

* Lord Plunket said : " I accuse the Government of fomenting the embers 
of a lingering rebellion ; of hallooing the Protestant against the Catholic, 
and the Catholic against the Protestant ; of artfully keeping alive domes- 
tic dissensions for the purposes of subjugation." 

t Charles Hamilton Teeling, in his narrative of the Irish Rebellion. 

Told by its Plotters. 


incendiary protected from the penalties of the law/* He 
had seen no less than sixteen of the Catholic churches of 
his own diocese deliberately and needlessly wrecked and 
burned by the yeomanry and Orange magistracy, whose 
actions were declared unimpeachable by Parliament. t He 
had witnessed the free-quarterings, the floggings, the 
pickettings, the half-hangings, the barbarous executions? 
the nameless outrages, the plunder ings and massacres 
perpetrated by the horde of Hessians and Orange Yeo- 
men whom the policy of the men at the head of the Irish 
Government had let loose upon the people. In the capital 
itself he had seen innocent men condemned to death by 
drumhead courtmartial, hanged by uniformed scoundrels 
from the bridge lamp-posts, or flogged nearly to death 
in the Castle courtyard or in the ridiug-school attached 
to Beresford's mansion in Marlborough-street for no crime 
save that some of Mr. Cooke's " little pensioners" or of 
"Major Sirr's gang ?, J had thought proper to "suspect" 
them of disloyalty. He saw the lives and fortunes of 
the majority of the people of Ireland apparently given 
over to the mercies of the murderous and unscrupulous 
rulers of the Orange party. It was not wonderful that 

* "A Bill to indemnify those persons who acted for the public service in 
suppressing insurrection since the 1st of June, 1797"' (nearly an entire vear 
before the insurrection commenced). This Bill was warmly opposed 
m its progress through the House by Sir John Freke, Mr. Dobbs, and 3Lr. 
Tigh, "on the grounds of its tending to interrupt the course of justice, 
and to protect persons guiltv of crimes against the punishment which thev 
had incurred." "A Bill," said Mr. Plunkett, "which went to indemnify 
ce ?i ain ma ?i st rates for outrages committed in violation of all law, profes- 
sedly for the public good ; and which deprived the injured of all redress or 
indemnification for the injuries sustained, on the same account, from those 
Te jy_ magistrates."— See Irish Parliamentary Debates. 

1 The churches belonging to the diocese of Dublin thus destroved were 
those of Arklow Round wood, Anamoe, Wicklow, Kilpatrick, Ballinnolagh, 
Castletown, Ashford, Glenaly, Johnstown, Wicklow Abbev, Kilmurrv, 
Newbridge, Curysfort, Castledermot, and BallvboghilL In all, sixtV- 
nine Catholic churches were burned or demolished. It is onlv fair to 
state that, after the passage of the Act of Union, the ruins of the buildings 
in question were surveyed and examined by Government and compen- 
sation allowed and paid. 

♦ See Cooke's memorandum to Lord Corawallis quoted in Part L 


The Story of the Union. 

under such circumstances Dr. Troy, like many of his col- 
leagues and co religionists, should have been ready to 
rely on the word of an English Minister as conveyed to 
him by an English Viceroy, or through the glib and 
treacherous lips of Lord Castlereagh. He could not 
have known, and, as a matter of fact, did not know, of 
the assurances which Pitt had given to Clare, who re- 
lied on htm " to keep his colleagues steady " against the 
Catholic claims, that no efforts and no promises were 
being spared to win the support of Foster, who hated 
and despised the Catholics, that the aid of the Orange 
Lodges was being invoked, or that Lord Camden 
had informed the Chief Secretary that Mr. Pitt was 
"most strongly inclined to a union on a Protestant 
basis." * In other words, he did not know that a deep 
and skilful plot had been laid, first to terrorise, and 
secondly to deceive, the Catholics of Ireland and their 
leaders. He did, however, know that the Chief Secretary 
constantly pretended to play the part of protector of the 
Catholics against the atrocious tyranny of the dornL 
nant faction, whose excesses he was in reality at the 
same moment instigating or condoning. 

In considering the correspondence with which we are 
about to deal, is is absolutely essential to a proper under- 
standing to give full weight to the facts which we have 
now recounted. 

* See the letters already quoted in previous pages. 

Told by its Plotters. 



On December 7th Lord Castlereagh set out for Loudon, 
bearing with him the following letter of introduction from 
Lord Cornwallis to Mr. Pitt : — 

Dublin Castle, December 7th, 1798. 

Dear Sir— This letter will be delivered to you by Lord Castle- 
reagh, who has possessed my entire confidence, and who is per- 
fectly well acquainted with my thoughts on every subject that 
concerns our present situation. 

That every man in this most corrupt country should consider 
the important question before us in no other point of view than as 
it may be likely to promote his own private objects of ambition 
or avarice will not surprise you, but you will, I think, be pleased 
at the sensible line which the principal Catholics have adopted, 
and which makes me the less regret the narrow principles by 
which our present plan of Union is circumscribed. — I am, &c, 


Pitt, no doubt, was thoroughly well "pleased" with 
the tidings which Castlereagh carried. It was something 
to know that the delusive hopes held out to them had 
deceived Dr. Troy, Lord Fingal, and Lord Kenmare. The 
mere fact that not one of the three asked for any definite 
public pledge as to the intentions of the Government rela- 
tive to the Catholics seems to us proof positive as to the 
extent and character of the private promises which were 
made to them. It is, however, essential to bear in mind 
that, no matter what may have taken place in this regard, 
there is no evidence that either the Archbishop or the two 
peers had anything more than a merely ex officio right to 
speak for their co-religionists on the political question of 
the day — no authority to act in such matters for those 
amongst whom they occupied such high position had ever 
been delegated in their regard. That they acted, although 
with good intentions, under the influence of deceit, abso- 
lutely contrary to the general opinion of the vast majority 

* Cornwallis Correspondence. VoL iii., pp. 7, 8. 

44 The Story of the Union. 

of the Catholics of Ireland, is, we think, certain. A letter 

written by Lord Cornwallis to his friend, Major-General 

Eoss, five days after the date of that last quoted, seems 

very conclusive on this point. The Viceroy wrote on 

December 12th, 1798, as follows : — 

The opposition to the Union increases daily in and about 
Dublin, and I am afraid, from conversations which I have held 
with persons much connected with them, that I was too sanguine 
when I hoped for the good inclinations of the Catholics. Their dis- 
position is so completely alienated from the British Government 
that I believe they would even be tempted to join with their 
bitterest enemies, the Protestants of Ireland, if they thought that 
measure would lead to a total separation of the two countries.* 

This is very clear and valuable testimony as to the feel- 
ing of the majority of the Catholics at this period. What 
the opinion of the Bar was had been pretty conclusively 
shown on Sunday, December 9th, when, after an animated 
and protracted discussion lasting from twelve o'clock to 
six, a resolution moved by Saurin to the effect that ts the 
measure of a Legislative Union of this kingdom and Great 
Britain was an innovation which it would be highly dan- 
gerous and improper to propose at the present juncture to 
this country 99 was carried by a large majority. Castlereagh 
and Cooke had taken the most extraordinary measures to 
influence the proceedings, but their efforts resulted in entire 
failure. One of their creatures, a barrister named McClel- 
land, reported the result of the meeting on the night of 
the day it took place, in a letter addressed to the Right 
Hon. Isaac Corry,t but intended for transmission to Castle- 
reagh, in the following words : — 

This motion {i.e., Saurin's) was followed by several violent 

* Cornwallis Correspondence. Vol. iii., pp. 15, 16. 

t Right Hon. Isaac Cony, born 1755, died May 15th, 1813. His father 
was an extensive merchant in Newry, for which place Isaac Corry sat from 
1776 until the Union. He was afterwards member for Dundalk, Newry 
again, and finally for Newport, Isle of Wight. He was appointed Surveyor- 
General of the Ordnance, 1788 ; Commissioner of Revenue, 1789 to 1798, 
and Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer, 1799 to 1804. He held the patent 
office of Surveyor-General of Crown Lands from 1799 till his death. 

Told by its Plotters 


harangues, some of them pronounced by men violently dis- 
affected. These republicans (as might be expected) inveighed 
violently against the insidious views of Great Britain and its 
Ministers, and attributed all our misfortunes to that source. I 
seized an opportunity of speaking immediately after one of 
these violent agitators, and after reprobating as strongly as I 
could the language they had held, and the manner in which 
they had debated the question, I called upon the meeting to join 
with me in the sentiment that this kingdom must stand or 
fall with Great Britain, and that whoever ventured to hint at a 
separation of them was an enemy of his country. This proposi- 
tion was received with the warmest approbation. 

Having thus roused the loyalty of the meeting, I urged as 
strongly as I could the reasons which occurred to me for post- 
poning the discussion of the subject, until we hear the intended 
terms of the Union, or whether the measure would in any shape 
be brought before Parliament. I flattered myself on sitting down 
with considerable support, but some desultory speeches after- 
wards drove away many who would have voted with us. On a 
division 32 voted for the adjournment and 160 against it. The 
resolution was then carried by a large majority.* 

M-'Clelland confessed that the result was " a defeat far 
beyond what he expected," and could only express a hope 
that he might be able to do something to " defeat the great 
effect expected to be produced by it," by " bringing for- 
ward a protest against the resolution,which will be signed 
by many not present at the meeting. "t The future judge 
plainly declared that he foresaw " that, in withstanding 
and opposing the violence of the opposite party," he would 
be " held out as a marked object for censure and misrepre- 
sentation." This, of course, was chiefly intended as a hint 
to his employers as to the necessity for the reward which he 
afterwards received. 

On the 11th December Cooke wrote to Lord Castlereagh, 
eporting that there was "a good deal of natural ferment' 1 
among the bankers and merchants of Dublin, and saying : 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh, Vol. ii., p. 38. 

t Ui the 32 barristers who supported M'Clelland at the meeting all save 
ErSJrS? be , en . rewarded by place before the end of 1803. Five, including 
MUeUand himself, were made judges, 16 county judges, two officers in 
Chancery, three Commissioners in Bankruptcy, and one Commissioner for 
the Board of Compensation. 


The Story of the Union. 

" I do not yet know what the Catholics will do." * Four 
flays later he wrote again : 

Dublin Castle, Dec. 15, 1798. 

My Dear Lord— Dublin violence increases. Pamphlets swarm 
— one or two good. A private meeting to-day of Catholics. I 
hear the body are not ill-inclined, and, where immediate private 
interest does not clash, will not oppose. Do not yet be certain. 
Lord Fingal wavered the other day.j- 

The Dublin argument is this -.'Absenteeism will increase— in- 
terest of the debt to England will increase— and we cannot bear 
the drain. Our manufactures will be ruined by putting an end 
to the duties between the two countries. t All the proprietors 
in Dublin must be injured. We shall be liable to British 
debts, &c. 

Some detailed plan is necessary to obviate this language. Can 
the potion be sweetened for Dublin. 

Barrington is writing— Bushe is writing— Jebb is writing— all 
against. § 

Would the Star and Courier || fight for a Union by abusing 
the Orangemen and praising Lord Cornwallis ?" IT 

This letter was written on Saturday. On the day pre- 
vious, Friday, Castlereagh's private secretary, Alexander 
Knox, wrote him giving rather a depressing account of the 
state of things in Dublin ; even the Orangemen were 
described as threatening recalcitrancy, and at the same 
moment when Cooke was writing Lord Cornwallis was 
reporting in the following words to the Duke of Portland : — - 

Oar reports of the reception of the measure in the North are 
not favourable, especially about Belfast, and the principal 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii, pp. 40, 41. 
t The italics are ours. The words help to show Fingal's position at this 

X This, at any rate, was a true prophecy, both as regards cause and effect. 

§ The three personages named were (1) Sir Jonah Barrington, M.P., 
King's Counsel, Judge of the Court of Admiralty, and author of the 
" Historic Memoirs of Ireland," &c. ; (2) Charles Kendall Bushe, after- 
wards Solicitor-General and Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. The pamphlet 
he was engaged with at this time was the celebrated and witty brochure, 
" Cease your Funning." (3) Richard Jebb, M.P., author of another able 
reply to Cooke's "Arguments For and Against a Union." 

II Two of the London papers of the day. The inquiry shows the nature 
of some of the work which Castlereagh had gone to London to perform. 
Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii., pp. 43, 44. 

Told by its Plotters. 47 

Catholics about Dublin begin to hold a much less sanguine language 
about the probable conduct of their brethren, and are disposed to 
think that, in this part of the kingdom, at least, the greater number 
of them will join in the ojiposition to the Union.* 

Now " the principal Catholics 99 referred to, in the words 
which we have italicised in this extract, were unquestionably 
Dr. Troy, with Lords Kenmare and Fingal, and it thus 
becomes perfectly plain that they had honestly explained 
their position to Lord Cornwalllis,and made clear to him the 
fact that they had neither right nor power to pledge their 
co-religionists in a matter of enormous national and political 
importance. There is no possibility of mistake as to the 
meaning of the viceroy's statement that they were beginning 
" to hold a much less sanguine language about the probable 
conduct of their brethren. " These were not the words of 
one who believed he had gained the support of men com- 
petent to pledge the great body of their Catholic fellows. 

Two days further on there was somewhat more cheering 
news for Castlereagh. Cooke, who seems to have always 
taken a roseate view of things, wrote his chief as follows : — 

Dublin Castle, December 17th, 1798. 

My Dear Lord — There was a Catholic meeting of thirty-seven 
leading men at Lord Fingal's on Saturday. Lord Kenmare wrote 
a letter to the meeting, expressing his sentiments as decidedly in 
favour of the Union. Mr. Donnellan was against it ; Mr. Bellew 
not decided .f There was no division, but an adjournment to 
Saturday next. Many thought it foolish to oppose a measure 
which was opposed by their enemies the Orangemen. On the 
whole, the appearance favourable. 

Bellew called on Marsden to-day, and gave him a general 
account, and seemed cool, but undecided. Marsden thought he 
wished to be talked to.£ 

Bellew was duly "talked to," with the usual results. 
Like most of the public men of the period, he seems 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., pp. 18, 19. 

t This was William Bellew, second son of Sir Patrick Bellew, fifth 
baronet. He died in 1835, unmarried. He seems to have been bribed. 
In 1801 Cornwallis obtained a pension of £600 per annum for him. 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii. f p. 46. 

48 The Story of the Union. 

to have had his price. The only point in his favour 
is that he did not set too high a value on his conscience. 
A poor pension of £600 a year won his voice and influence. 
He was almost the only Catholic against whom corruption 
can be alleged. 

On the following day, the 18th, Cooke again wrote to 
Castlereagh. His letter is chiefly interesting as giving 
a sketch of the disturbed state of the country at this time. 
He wrote : — 

My Dear Lord— I enclose the resolutions of the bankers and 
merchants, which are well conceived and very strong. Digges 
Latoucbe moved, John C. Beresford* seconded ; the bank direc- 
tors*}- were present. Only the mover and seconder spoke. 

I am sorry to say our situation does not mend. We hear 
of trees being cut in Tipperary and Wexford ; and I hear that in 
Down and Antrim there are bad symptoms. Robberies, murders, 
and burnings continue ; last night the sentries on the bridge 
were fired at. % 

The resolutions adopted at the meeting described in this 
letter were most commendable. They stated nothing but 
what was true. The most important were as follows : — 

Resolved — That, since the renunciation in the year 1782 of the 

* A son of the Eight Hon. John Beresford, the most corrupt of the Union 
conspirators, and an Orangeman of the deepest dye himself. He was the 
devisor and superintendent of the floggings and torturings of suspected 
persons in the famous riding school in Marlborough-green, as the locality- 
was then called. The fact that he was an opponent of the Union was 
almost enough in itself to explain the feeling of " the principal Catholics'* 
in its favour. 

t The Directors of the Bank of Ireland are those referred to. People at 
the present day have no conception of the enormous influence possessed in 
Dublin at the period in question by these gentlemen. Their names 
were— Governor, Right Hon. David Latouche, 45 St. Stephen's-green ; 
Deputy-Governor, Thophilus Thompson, 48 William-street ; John Allen, 
20 Bachelor's-walk ; Patrick Bride, 38 Great Ship-street ; William Colville, 
6 Bachelor's-walk; Leland Crosthwaite, 76 Fleet-street; Samuel Dick, 
13 Linen Hall-street; Jeremiah D'Olier, 87 Dame-street; Joseph Goff, 6 
Granby-row; Travers Hartley, 84 Bride street; George Godfrey Hoffman, 9 
Fleet-street; Alexander Jaffray, 8 Ely-place; George Masuay, 143 
Thomas-street ; George Palmer, 4 French-street ; Amos Strettel, 9 
Merrion-square ; Abraham Wilkinson, 4 West Park-street ; Charles Ward, 
12 Fownes-street. As will be seen there was scarcely a single bearer of a 
genuine Irish name amongst them. 

% Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii., p. 47. 
Sentries were set every night on the river and canal bridges, and in the 
principal streets. A reign of terror existed even in the capital 

Told by its Plotters. 49 

power of Great Britain to legislate for Ireland, the commerce 
and prosperity of this kingdom have eminently increased. 

Resolved— That we attribute these blessings, under Providence 
and the gracious favour of our beloved Soverei^/a, to the 
wisdom of the Irish Parliament. 

Resolved— That we look with abhorrence on any attempt to 
deprive the people of Ireland of their Parliament, and thereby of 
their constitution and immediate power of legislating for them- 

Resolved — That, impressed with every sentiment of loyalty to 
our King, and affectionate attachment to British connection, we 
conceive that to agitate in Parliament a question of Legislative 
Union between this kingdom and Great Biitain would be highly 
dangerous and impolitic. 

On the 19th and 20th Cooke wrote to Castlereagh, de- 
scribing interviews which he had with Marsden and Bellew, 
who seems to have cleverly represented himself at the 
Castle in such a light as to enhance his importance in 
the estimation of the conspirators. The first letter says ; 

Bellew was with Marsden* to-day. He said there would be a 
large meeting of the Catholics on Saturday ; that they expected 
he would move a resolution ; but he understood Lord Cornwallis 
had expressed a wish that no step should be taken at present ; 
that, for his own part, not seeing that any particular benefit 
was held out for a Union to the Catholics, he had intended to 
move that, as far as Catholics were concerned, a Union was in- 
expedient ; that he wished not to do anything unpleasant to the 
Government ; that he thought, if he did not propose anything, no 
one else would; and that he was not indisposed to adjourn a 
decision, if recommended, f 

" If recommended !" The man who visited the Chief 
Secretary's office and talked in this strain might as well at 
once have handed in an invoice of his personality. Xext 
post, on the 20th, Cooke wrote : — 

Bellew was favourable to-day ; he sees his Excellency to-mor- 
row. . . . He will prevent an unfavourable declaration. X 

* This was Alexander Marsden, at the period in question Assistant 
Secretary in the Law Department, and, later on, Cooke's successor as Under 
Secretary, from Oct. 21st, 1801, to Sept. 8th, 1806. He was appointed 
later on Commissary Judge in the Slavery Courts, and afterwards Com- 
missioner and Chairman of Excise, a position which he held up to 181 7. He 
was born Oct. 17th, 1761, and died Sept. 16th, 1834. 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. VoL ii, p. 51. 

X Ibid. Page 50. 


50 The Story of the Union. 

John C. Beresford, who was, as we have seen, opposing 
the proposed Union, remained on friendly terms with Castle- 
reagh, corresponding with him both directly and through 
his father. On the 19th he wrote Castlereaagh, describing 
the meeting of merchants and bankers, in which he had 
taken a prominent part, and telling him that " the resolu- 
tions all passed unanimously, without a comment / saw 
several of the principal Roman Catholic merchants?* Here 
again, and from the lips of a man who hated them, we have 
testimony as to the feelings of many amongst the Catholic 

On the very next day another bitter and unrelenting 
enemy of the claims of the Catholics to justice, Dr. Patrick 
Duigenan, M.P.,t wrote as follows to Castlereagh ; — 

We have succeeded here in preventing the Aldermen of 
Skinner's-alley,+ a very numerous society of citizens of Dublin, 
eminently loyal, from canvassing the business ; and the different 
Orange Lodges throughout the kingdom, composed of the bravest, 
most active, and loyal Protestants, have been prevailed on to 
adopt the same line of conduct. This is the utmost service the 
friends of the Union have been able to effect. 

In truth, my lord, I must plainly tell you that the unac- 
countable conduct of the present Lord Lieutenant, which has 
rendered him not only an object of disgust, but of abhorrence, to 
every loyal man I have conversed with since my return from 
England, has induced many persons to oppose a Union, who, if 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii., p. 51. 

t Duigenan was the lowest and worst kind of bigot. Born a Catholic, and 
the child of poor parents, who suffered want in the effort to secure him 
education sufficient to qualify him for admission to a clerical seminary, 
he, tempted by the worldly advantages perversion offered, turned Protes- 
tant. His great natural ability enabled him to win a sizarship in Trinity 
College, where he rapidly attained distinction. Admitted to the Bar in 
Michaelmas, 1767, he became Judge Advocate and afterwards Judge of 
the Prerogative Court, besides representing the borough of Old Leighlin 
from 1791 to 1797, and afterwards Armagh city till his death. He was 
a virulent and foul-mouthed denouncer of the Catholics and their religion, 
exhibiting in his writings and speeches the proverbial ferocity of a renegade. 
He was twice married, but childless, and died at his residence, No. 52 Jervis- 
street, on April 11, 1816, aged 81 years, as unrelenting a Protestant as he 
had lived. 

% In reality a branch of the Orange Society, founded to perpetuate the 
memory of the disloyal corporators dispossessed of office by James II., 
and restored to power by William III. 

Told by its Plotters. 51 

uninfluenced by resentment against the Marquis Cornwall!*,* 
would have given no opposition, if they did not support, that 
measure. God Almighty send us a Chief Governor of more 
conciliating manners, more understanding, and more knowledge 
of the real state of this unhappy, divided, and partly desolated 
country, and the dispositions of its inhabitants ! f 

On Christmas Eve Dr. Troy wrote a letter to Lord 
Castlereagh, which is too important not to be quoted in 
full. It was as follows : — 

North King-street, Dublin, 

December 24th, 1798. 

My Lord— In acknowledging the honour of your lordship's 
favour of the 20th inst., I conceive it my duty to state that the 
adjourned meeting mentioned in my letter of the loth to your 
lordship, was held last Saturday at Lord Fingal's. Lord Kenmare 
was one of the many respectable persons, gentry and prin- 
cipal merchants of this city, who attended. 

The general opinion of the meeting was that the Catholics, as 
such, ought not to deliberate on the Union as a question of Empire, 
but only as it might affect their own peculiar interests as a body, 
and on this it was judged inexpedient to publish any resolu- 
tion or declaration at present ; whereof neither of any kind 
was proposed nor suggested, and the meeting adjourned sine die. — 
I have the honour to remain, &c, 

J. T. Troy.J 

Xow, it would be absurd to pretend to think that the 
views of the meeting referred to and reported in this letter 
accorded with those of Dr. Troy himself, but this very fact 
renders his evidence the more interesting and important. 
From his words it is made perfectly plain that while the 
Catholics who assembled at Lord Fingal's deemed it ad- 
visable to take steps to safeguard so far as possible the 
special interests of their co-religionists in and under any 
scheme of Union, they yet refused to express any opinion 
on the project as a national arrangement, or, as Dr. Troy 
puts it, " as a question of ' Empire.' " In other words, while 

* The resentment felt by Duigenan and his friends towards the Viceroy 
arose from the well-known friendliness of the latter for the Catholics, and 
his efforts to protect the people from the horrible excesses of the Orange- 
men, Hessians, and yeomanry. 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii., pp. 52, 53. 

X Memoirs aud Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii., p. 61. 


The Story of the Union. 

they recognised the fact, which it is fatal to forget, that 
Catholics as Catholics have at all times and in every 
country special and most sacred interests to care for, they 
at the same time left each individual to take on the political 
question such action as his conscience dictated. The 
decision was a wise and prudent one. It proves most 
decisively how unjust it is to charge Irish Catholics as a 
whole with having supported the policy of Pitt and 
Castlereagh. The opinions and actions of a few of their 
number, however illustrious, were not permitted to influence 
the vast majority of their co-religionists with reference to 
the political or national question. That they should agree 
to take united action on points wherein Catholics of all 
modes of thought should be unanimous was not only 
reasonable, but an absolute duty. 

Told by its Plotters. 



On the 2nd January, 1799, Lord Cornwallis wrote a 
letter to the Duke of Portland, the historical importance 
of which it is impossible to overrate, and which affords 
emphatic and unimpeachable evidence as to the feeling 
manifested by those Catholics who had attended the meeting 
held at Lord Fingal's. In this letter the Viceroy wrote as 
follows : — 

The Catholic?, as a body, still adhere to their reserve on the 
measure of Union. The very temperate and liberal sentiments 
at first entertained or expressed by some of the most considerable 
of that body were by no means adopted by the Catholics who met 
at Lord Fingal's, and professed to speak for the party at large. 
Whether it was their original sentiment to oppose the Union 
unless their objects were comprehended in it, or whether this 
disposition was taken up when they observed the Government to 
be either weakly supported or opposed by the Protestants, it is 
difficult to determine. Certain it is, they now hold off, which 
can only arise either from an original disinclination to the 
measure, or an expectation that the Government will be driven 
to a compliance with their wishes in order to carry it. What 
line of conduct they will ultimately adopt, when decidedly con- 
vinced that the measure will be persevered in on a Protestant 
principle, I am incapable of judging. I shall endeavour to give 
them the most favourable impressions, without holding out to 
them hopes of any relaxation on the part of Government, and 
shall leave no effort untried to prevent an opposition to the Union 
being made the measure of that party, as I should much fear, 
should it be made a Catholic principle to resist the Union, that 
the favourable sentiments entertained by individuals would give 
way to the party feeling, and deprive us of our principal strength 
in the South and West, which could not fail, at least for the 
present, to prove fatal to the measure.* 

The same messenger who carried this letter bore two 
from Castlereagh, one of which was sufficient to stamp his 
reputation with eternal infamy. In the first, which was 
addressed to the Duke of Portland, and which was com- 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii., pp. 73, 79. 


The Story of the Union. 

paratively harmless, Castlereagh assured that nobleman 
that, although the time which had elapsed since his return 
to Dublin had been brief, yet still he could not " suffer the 
messenger to depart without sending him such details as 
might not in themselves be of sufficient magnitude to make 
a part of the Lord Lieutenant's official communication. " 
In pursuance of this resolve he went on to describe the 
existing situation in the Irish capital. He wrote : — 

The inflammation in Dublin is extreme, but is as yet confined 
to the middling and higher classes. The lower orders are naturally 
indifferent to the question, but will be easily set in motion should 
their co-operation become of importance to the leading opposers 
Df the measure. 

The letter proceeded. Its words read curiously, coming 
from the pen of Castlereagh :— - 

Dr. Duigenan, whose opinions on the question are strongly 
favourable, is, I understand, shaken by the Protestant cabal in 
the city, with which he is much connected. Mr. Ogle,* from his 
not having replied to my letter, I fear is similarly affected. 

Then he went on to tell the Duke that " nothing but 
an established conviction that the English Government will 
never lose sight of the Union till it is carried, can give 
the measure a chance of success."f The second of Castle- 
reagh's letters was evidently written in supplement or 
continuation of correspondence and interviews which had 
previously taken place, but of the purport of which evidence 
is not at present obtainable. It affords the strongest 

* This was the Eight Hon. George Ogle, who was born in 1742, and died 
in 1814. He sat as representative of the county Wexford from 1770 to 
1797, and for the city of Dublin— first in the Irish Parliament and afterwards 
in Westminster— from 1798 to 1802. In 1784 he was appointed to the 
patent office of Registrar of Deeds, from which he drew an income of 
£1,300 a-year. He was a bigot of the most rancorous type, although a 
Nationalist of the class to which so many of the Protestants of the period 
belonged. He fought a duel of the most bloodthirsty kind with a Mr. 
Coyle, a Catholic distiller, in which no less than eight shots were exchanged 
between the combatants. Ogle's town residence was No. 1 Summer-hill. 
His country seat was Belview, Enniscorthy. 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. h\, pp. 80-1. 

Told by its Plotters. 


possible proof of the methods of corruption which were 
being adopted by the plotters of a coup d'etat without 
parallel for utter baseness in the history of nations. His 
letter was as follows : — 

Most secret. 

Dublin Castle, Jan. 2, 1799. 

My Dear Sir — Already we feel the want, and indeed that 
absolute necessity, of the primum mobile. We cannot give the 
activity to the Press which is requisite. We have good materials 
amongst the young barristers, but we cannot expect them to 
waste their time, and starve into the bargain. 

I know the difficulties, and shall respect them as much as pos- 
sible in the extent of our expenditure ; but notwithstanding 
every difficulty I cannot help most earnestly requesting to receive 
£5,000 in bank notes by the first messenger. 

Ever, &c, 


This letter was addressed to William Wickham, at the 
time Under Secretary in the English Home Office, f whose 
reply was prompt, and precisely of the nature that Castle- 
reagh wished for. It was in the following terms : — 

Private and most secret. 

Whitehall, January 7th, 1799, 
Twenty minutes past five. 
My Dear Lord — Immediately on the receipt of your lordship's 
letter of the 2nd inst. , marked most secret, I waited on the Duke 
of Portland at Burlington House, who, without loss of time, 
wrote both to Mr. Pitt and Lord Grenville on that part of the 
letter which seemed to press the most, and I have the satisfaction 
to inform your lordship that a messenger will be sent off from 
hence in the course of to-morrow with the remittance particularly 
required for the present moment, and the Duke of Portland has 
every reason to hope that means will soon be found of placing a 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. hi., p. 27. The 
portion of this letter omitted above had no reference to the scheme in 
which the conspirators were engaged. 

t Wickham, who was born in 1761, and died October 22nd, 1840, was 
married to a Swiss lady, daughter of M. Louis Bertrand, of Geneva. He 
was Undersecretary of the Home Department in England from 1798 to 
1800, and afterwards employed in the diplomatic service. In this capacity 
he lived for long in Switzerland. He acted as Chief Secretary for Ireland 
from February, 1802, to February, 1804, and was Lord of the Treasury 
from February, 1806, to April, 1807. He was successively M.P. for 
Heytesbury, Cashel, and Callington. 


The Story of the Union. 

larger sum at the Lord Lieutenant's disposal ; but upon this 
point I shall probably have occasion to write to your lordship 
again. — I am, &c, 

William Wickham.* 
Two days later Lord Corn wal lis wrote to the Duke of 
Portland a letter which vividly illustrates the system of 
corruption which was being pursued at this time. This 
letter was as follows : — 

Dublin Castle, Jan. 4, 1799. 
My Dear Lord — I stated some time since to your Grace the 
very important services which were rendered by Sir John 
Blaquiere in the transaction respecting the English militia. 

He has now taken the most fair and unreserved part on the 
question of the Union, and by the decided language which he has 
been in the habit of using in the House of Commons, and which 
I am told has a considerable effect, as well as by the hospitable 
meetings of members at his house, he will, no doubt, be of infinite 
use to us in the arduous contest in which we are about to engage. 

The great object of his wishes is an Irish peerage for Lady 
Blaquiere, which favour he is particularly desirous to obtain at 
present, and I am convinced that he will feel the obligation 
infinitely more if he gets it now than if he is to wait till those 
who have contributed to promote the Union may look for con- 

If your Grace should be inclined to dispose his Majesty to 
attend to my request in favour of Sir John Blaquiere, I think 
that his good offices in retaining the English militia may be 
assigned as a reason for granting the peerage to his family at 
this time, without opening the door to the importunities of other 
impatient candidates. — I have, &c, 


* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii., p. 82. 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., pp. 29, 30. 
The gentleman referred to in the letter was the Right Hon. iSir John 
Blaquiere, K.B., born May 15th, 1732 ; died August 27th, 1812. He was 
Secretary to the Embassy in Paris from 1768 to 1772, and in the latter 
year accompanied Lord Harcourt, who had been English Ambassador to 
France, when he came to Ireland to take over the Viceroyalty. Blaquiere 
was appointed Chief Secretary, a position which he held from November, 
1772, to January, 1777. He was M.P. for Old Leighlin from 1773 to 
1783, for Carlingford to 1790, Charleville to 1797, and Newtownards till 
the Union. No man profited more largely than he did by the destruction 
of the Irish Legislature. He received three pensions respectively of 
£1,200, £2,062, and £1,000, besides being created Lord de Blaquiere, 
July 20th, 1800. The city mansion in which he dispensed such lavish 
hospitality, in order to aid the passage of the Union, was situated in 

Told by its Plotters. 


On the 5th January, Castlereagh wrote the Duke of 
Portland almost jubilant in his hopes of coming triumph, 
although he still apprehended certain difficulties. He said : 
"Since my arrival I have made considerable progress in my 
communications.* The decided language I am enabled to 
hold has the best effects, but we must nevertheless be pre- 
pared for a hard contest." The Irish Secretary went on to 
tell the English Minister that " the opposite party take 
credit for 113 pledged against the measure in the Com- 
mons, amongst whom they reckon two of our Commis- 
sioners of Revenue." Castlereagh proceeded : — 

The clamour out of doors is principally to be apprehended as 
furnishing the members within with a plausible pretext for acting 
in conformity with their own private feelings.-^ 

There w T as here no pretence at regarding the vote which 
members were about to be asked to give as being one in 
wrhich conviction or conscience were to be allowed any 
sympathy. It would be impossible to obtain a more dis- 
tinct admission that Castlereagh knew that what he was 
asking Irish representatives to do was absolutely 
antagonistic to their own feelings and contrary to their own 
sense of right. His letter proceeded : — 

Lord Bectivei has written a very handsome letter to the Lord 
Lieutenant, assuring him of his utmost support, and stating that 
he should consider Ministers as highly criminal were they to neg- 
lect the present opport unity of proposing the measure. His 
lordship has three friends in Parliament. 

* Whenever Castlereagh uses a word of doubtful significance such as this 
the reader will do well to form his own conclusions. Here the word " com- 
munications'' was undoubtedly a synonym for " trafficking 1 ' or " bribery." 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. hi., pp. 30, 31. 

X This was Thomas, second Earl of Bective, K.P., who duly received his 
reward for his 4 ' very handsome letter to the Lord Lieutenant," in being 
created Marquis of Headfort and the sum of £15,000 compensation for 
the extinction of the Parliamentary representation of his pocket borough 
of Kells. The earl's residence was in Kutland-square. 

58 The Story of the Union. 

Such a recruit was worth winning. Castlereagh, however, 
had more to add. He went on : — 

Sir Hercules Langrishe* resigns his first opinion, and will net 
separate from the British Government on a fundamental principle 
of connection. f 

On the 7th January, Castlereagh sent out the following 
circular to those members of Parliament whom he regarded 
as being at all likely to be induced to support the measure 
about to be proposed : — 

Dublin Castle, Jan. 7th, 1799. 
Sir— I am directed by my Lord Lieutenant to acquaint you 
that business of the greatest importance will be submitted to 
Parliament on the first day of the session, and his Excellency 
trusts that it will suit your convenience to be in town previous 
to that time, when I shall hope to have an opportunity of com- 
municating with you upon the measures to be brought forward. 
—I have the honour to be, &c. , 

Castlereagh. Z 
This was a general form of circular addressed without 
distinction to every member, but special autograph lettei s 
were despatched to many. One at least of these has been 
preserved, and is worth being quoted. Castlereagh wrote 
as follows to the Right Hon. Colonel King : — 

Dublin Castle, Jan. 7th, 1799. 
My Dear Sir — I should not have presumed to trouble you 
with the request contained in my last, but from an earnest desire 
to take the earliest opportunity of communicating with you on 
the important measure which his Majesty's Ministers have 
felt it their duty to propose to the Parliaments of both king- 
doms. His Majesty will in his speech recommend to the Irish 

* It would have been nothing short of marvellous if Sir Hercules had 
adhered to "his first opinion." The man was a confirmed place-seeker. 
Born in 1738, he had been created a baronet 28th January, 1777. Be- 
tween 1767 and 1775 he held the offices of Commissioner of Barracks, 
of Excise, and Supervisor of Accounts. At the date of the letter quoted 
above he was a Commissioner of Revenue, a position which he held until 
1801. He sat as member for the borough of Knocktopher, of which he was 
almost the sole proprietor, from 1761 till the Union, when he received a 
sum of £13,862, his co-proprietor, Sir George Shee, pocketing only £1,137. 
Sir Hercules Langrishe's residences were in Dominick-street and at Bushy 
Park, Bray, county Wicklow. 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. hi., pp. 31, 32. 

i Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Yol. ii., pp. 82, 83. 

Told by its Plotters. 


Parliament to take into their early consideration the means of 
drawing closer the connection ; and it is intended to propose, 
as soon after as the House can be called over, the enabling the 
Crown to appoint Commissioners to speak on the part of each 
country, and to submit to Parliament a plan of a Legislative 
Union for their consideration. This proceeding will admit of 
the measure being fully understood before it is brought to a 

I shall be anxious for a meeting, to explain to you the outline 
of the arrangement which is in contemplation, and hope that a 
measure, which appears to his Majesty's confidential servants 
essential to the interests of both countries, may meet with 
your support.— I have the honour to be, &c, 

Castlereagh. * 
On the same day on which the letter just quoted was 
written, Castlereagh despatched another of much import- 
ance and interest to the Duke of Portland. In the course 
of this he wrote as follows : — 

The Catholics still continue against us. The Chancellor writes 
from Limerick that he has reason to believe that orders to 
that effect have been sent down there within these few days.f 

The letter went on : 

Colonel Fitzgerald, member for the county of Cork, inferior to 
no man in personal respectability, is strongly with us. He 
assured me to-day that he would take whatever part was wished 
in the debate. Lord Tyrawley has enlisted heartily. The neces- 
sary personal attention being paid him will gain many very 
respectable county members from Mayo, together with his other 
friend s.J 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Ca stlereagh. Vol. ii., p. 83. The 
" right honourable gentleman " to whom this letter was addressed was 
an excellent specimen of the type of representative whose presence in the 
Irish House of Commons rendered the Union possible. He was Colonel 
the Eight Hon. Henry King, brother of Edward, first Earl of Kingston. 
He sat for the family borough of Boyle, for the disfranchisement of 
which at the Union his nephew, Eobert, second Earl of Kingston, received 
£15,000 compensation. His city residence was in North Great George's- 
street ; his country seat Belleek, Ballina. 

t It is curious, to say the least, to find Castlereagh glibly reciting Clare's 
assertions about the Catholics to Portland while he was representing 
himself to Dr. Troy as the opponent of the party and the policy of which 
the Chancellor was a champion. 

X Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii., pp. 84, 85. 
The Lord Tyrawley referred to in this letter was the first and last of his 
name. Born in 1747, he had been M.P. for Mayo, until created a peer, 
Nov. 7, 1797. He held the lucrative position of Commissioner of Bar- 
racks from 1772 to 1776, when he was appointed Superintendent- 
General, recurring to his place as Commissioner in Jan., 1784, a posi- 
tion which he occupied until 1803, when he was made a Commissioner of 
the Board of Works. Tyrawley died June 15, 1821. 

430 The Story of the Union 

On the 9th January, Castlereagh wrote again to Port- 
land. The tidings he had to communicate were not of a 
pleasing kind. Portion of his letter ran as follows 

The Speaker is arrived. I have not yet seen him, but under- 
stand his language is very hostile. We are making every exer- 
tion to collect our strength on the first day of the session ; 
much depends in this country at all times on first impressions. 
It is, therefore, important to assume a tone of confidence, and to 
avow at the outset boldly the measure to which the speech 
alludes. Decided language on the address will strengthen us in 
our further proceedings. It is better to provoke the discussion 
than to wait for the attack. I shall endeavour to prevail on the 
Chancellor to make one of his strong speeches in the Lords 
which, thrown into circulation, will have its effect.* 

It is curious to find Castlereagh counting on the aid 
of the anti-Catholic and bigoted Clare as a defence 
against the assaults of the anti-Catholic and bigoted 

On the following day Castlereagh had to write Wickham, 
acknowledging the receipt of the " £5,000 in bank notes" 
which he had asked for in the letter of 2nd January, 
already quoted. He wrote: 


Dublin Castle, Jan. 10th, 1799. 
My Dear Sir — I have only a moment to acknowledge the 
receipt of your letters of the 7th. The contents of the messenger's 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii., pp. 85, 86. 

t Clare's character is well known ; but Foster's, owing to the notable 
part he took in the defence of the Pailiament, has been treated with more 
tenderness than he deserved. The truth is that the man was a rancorous 
and unscrupulous bigot. The part he played in the persecution of the 
Catholics of Navan towards the close of 1793, when an absolutely 
murderous conspiracy was entered into by the Orange gentry and mag- 
istracy of Meath and Louth against some of the most respectable members 
of their body, was alone sufficient to brand him as a man devoid of all 
sense of justice or clemency once his religious prejudices were aroused. 
Plowden, in his ' ' Historical Review of the State of Ireland," Vol. ii., pp. 
440, 441, edition of 1803, rightly charges him with complicity in the foul 
attempt to take away the life of John Fay and several leading Catholics by 
legal process sustained by suborned evidence. Of these trials 
Curran spoke in the House of Commons when he declared them to be 
" scenes of more atrocity and horror than he had ever seen exhibited in a 
court of justice." Foster's town residence was in Molesworth-street ; his 
country seat at Collon, county Louth. 

Told by its Plotters. 


despatches are very interesting. Arrangements with a view 
to further communications of the same natuie will be highly 
advantageous, and the Duke of Portland may depend on their 
being carefully applied. — I am, &c, • 


" Further communications of the same nature" were of 
course duly received and the fact of their " careful ap- 
plication" is even still vouched for by the existence of the 
system of Government to which Irishmen are now expected 
to render loyalty. 

On the day previous to the writing of the letter last 
quoted, Castlereagh had written to Lord Longueville, one of 
the most unscrupulous jobbers of the period, a letter in 
which he declared that he had " received with great satis- 
faction " his lordship's letter enclosing his account of " the 
proceedings at Cork/' and informed Longueville that he had 
"rendered very important service to the King's Govern- 
ment on this as on former trying occasions." Castlereagh 
went on : — 

Nothing can be better conceived than the words of the address. 
I trust it may be equally well received by the freemen, and that 
the sentiments it breathes may pervade the province. f 

The address in question had been forwarded by Castle- 
reagh to Portland in his letter of the 9th, from which we 
have already quoted. It was a declaration in favour of the 
projected Union extorted from the Common Council of Cork 
through the intrigues of the corrupt and worthless Longue- 
ville, J who was a fitting tool to use in such work as was 
being perpetrated. The address, however, was regarded as 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., p. 34. 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii., p. 86. 

t The editor of the Cornwallis papers says of Lord Longueville that "he 
had considerable Parliamentary influence, of which he made an unscrupu- 
lous use in obtaining patronage and effecting jobs." He was the first and 
last Lord Longueville. Born October 9, 1734, he sat successively as mem- 
ber for Charleville, Clonakilty, Cork City, Baltimore, and Cork City again, 
until created a peer in 1795. For his services in connection with the Union 
his baronetage was changed to a viscounty, December 29, 1800. 


The Story of the Union. 

a perfect God-send by Portland, who, immediately on receiv- 
ing it, wrote to Castlereagh under date of Friday, January 
11, 1799, marking his letter " Private and secret," declar- 
ing that he " could not let the post go without thanking 
him for the very satisfactory letters " he had received from 
him " on yesterday and to-day," and " congratulating him in 
particular upon the address from' Cork," which he would 
" be most happy to convey to his Majesty," and which he 
46 hoped would be a signal for the good sense of the rest of 
Ireland to show itself."* Portland went on : — 

I am sorry to say Lord Ely holds a very loose language, 
indeed. He told me — and he has repeated it since — that he has 
not yet formed any opinion ; and I know that he has said that 
he has not yet heard anything to convince him of the necessity 
or utility of a Union, f 

The story of the cajolery and intimidation exercised 
towards Lord Ely is curiously illustrative of the course of 
action which was being pursued at this period by the 
promoters of the Union. It deserves recital and con- 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii., p. 88, 
t Charles, first Earl of Ely of the second creation, born January 23, 
1738; died March 22, 1806. He was created Lord Loftus 1785, Earl of 
Ely 1794, Marquis 1800, and an English Peer, as Lord Loftus, in 1801. 
Lord Ely was joint Postmaster-General from January, 1789, to 18 06, and 
Teller of the Exchequer from 1777 to 1793. He sat for Clonmines from 
1761 until his elevation to the peerage. His residences were Hume-street, 
Dublin ; Eathfarnham Castle, county Dublin ; and Loftus Hall, county 

Told by its Plotters. 



We have already quoted the despatch, dated November 
27, 1798, from Lord Comwallis to the Duke of Portland, 
in which his Grace was informed, with reference to the 
projected Union, that " Lord Ely, relying on the favour of 
the Crown in an object personal to himself, is prepared to 
give it his utmost support."* The " object" referred to by 
the Viceroy was Ely's desire to change his earldom for a 
marquisatc. Less than two months later, on the 11th 
January, 1798, Comwallis had again to write the Duke as 
follows : — 

I feel it necessary to inform your Grace that a very unfavour- 
able impression has been made within the two last days against 
the Union, partly by the arrival of the Speaker, but still more 
by its being generally circulated and believed in town, that both 
Lord Downshiref and Lord Ely are adverse to the measure. There 
seems but too much reason to apprehend, from some expressions 
in a letter ot Lord Downshire s to Lord Castlereagh, that his 
lordship's opinion is at best unsettled on the subject, and by the 
enclosed copy of a letter from Lord Ely to a friend here, it is evi- 
dent that his support can by no means be relied on. 

Comwallis was evidently much perturbed at the prospect 
of having to encounter the opposition of two noblemen so 
influential as Lords Ely and Downshire. His letter pro- 
ceeded : — 

Your Grace will observe that Lord Ely's expressions are ver- 
batim those of the Speaker, Lord Downshire, Lord Cork. &c. 
It is reported that he means to bring Mr. Luttrell forward, who 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol.. ii,, p. 452. 

t Arthur, Lord Fairford, afterwards second Marquis of Downshire, born 
March 3rd, 1753, died September 7th, 1801. He sat in the English Parlia- 
ment as Lord Fairford, for Lostwithiel, from November, 1774, to 1780, 
and then for Malmesbury to March, 1784; and in Ireland as Lord Kir- 
warlin, for the county of Down, from June, 1776, till he became a peer, 
October 13th, 1793. To Lord Downshire's credit, it is to be recorded that 
neither threats nor bribery could win him over to support the Union, for his 
exertions in opposition tolwhich he was dismissed from the Privy Council 
and deprived of his commission in the militia. He was proprietor of the 
boroughs of Blessington and Hillsborough, as well as half owner of Carling- 
ford, and consequently received no less a sum than £37,500 by way of com- 
pensation on the passage of that measure. 


The Story of the Union. 

has been peculiarly active in London against the measure, which, 
if true, is not only a proof of his lordship's present sentiments,, 
but of the school in which they have been formed.* 

The Lord Lieutenant went on to lament that Lord Ely 
had probably also been tainted through his intimacy with 
the Archbishop of Cashel,t with whom he had been staying, 
and continued : — 

I need not press upon your Grace's attention the insuperable 
difficulties, so unexpected and so important a defection as this 
must occasion in the accomplishment of the measure. It not only 
transfers eighteen votes in the Commons to the Opposition, but 
strikes a damp among the supporters of the measure which may 
operate in a fatal extent against us. 

This was alarming. Luckily for the plotters, however^ 
one unfailing resource remained. Cornwallis put it plainly 
enough to Portland in the following words : — 

In stating these circumstances to your Grace I have most ear- 
nestly to entreat that every possible effort may be made on your 
side of the water to overcome the difficulties of these important 
characters, and to send us whatever assistance may be collected 
from thence. J 

Two days later Cornwallis wrote Portland as follows : — 

Dublin Castle, Jan. 13, 1799. 

My Dear Lord — In consequence of a letter which Lord Castle- 
reagh has received from Lord Ely, I have thought it necessary 
to explain very clearly to him that he will not be allowed to 
shuffle on this occasion. 

As it is possible, from what I before stated, that you may 
already have brought him to reason, I have enclosed my letter 
under a flying seal, and leave the expediency of forwarding it to 
your Graced discretion. — I am, &c, 

Cornwallis. § 

* This was an allusion to Lord Ely's paternal relations, the sterlingly 
patriotic Ponsonbys, Grattan's staunch and devoted friends. 

t This was the notorious Charles Agar, at the time in question Protestant 
Archbishop of Cashel, and, therefore, a Spiritual Peer of Ireland. When 
this letter was written he was posing as an opponent of the Union, for 
which, however, he eventually voted, being immediately afterwards pro- 
moted to be Archbishop of Dublin as a token of Castlereagh's and Pitt's 
appreciation of his virtues. 

X Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. hi., pp. 34, 35. 

§ Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. hi, p. 36. 

Told by its Plotter*. 65 

The immediate cause of the remonstrance which Corn- 
wallis enclosed in this letter for delivery to Ely was the 
letter which the latter had written from London, and which 
was referred to in the letter of the former, written under 
date of 11th January, just quoted. Portion of Lord Ely's 
communication was as follows : — ■ 

God grant that this mad scheme {i.e., the Union) may not go 
too far for all the projectors of it to appease ! I have not con- 
versed with a single person since I came here that has advanced 
a single argument in favour of it, and all the Irishmen I con- 
verse with are pointedly and decidedly against the measure. I 
can scarcely give credit to their bringing it on now. 

I have kept my mind perfectly free from every prejudice for 
and against the subject, and I am so still ; but no person lias yet 
said a word to me on the subject of Union to make me think it 
an advantageous measure for either kingdom. Its great and only 
advocates are men who do not belong to us, or absentees who 
never again intend to visit Ireland.* 

This clearly was not lauguage which the promoters of the 
Union could allow to be used without rebuke. Its very 
truth aggravated its offensiveness. Ely had allowed it to 
be known that he was ambitious of changing his earldom 
into a marquisate ; furthermore, he held the lucrative 
positions of Postmaster-General and Teller of the Exchequer 
in Ireland. He was, therefore, a man upon whom great 
pressure might easily be brought to bear, even if he had 
not already permitted it to be seen that he was opeu to 
listen to arguments of a particular kind. So far back as 
the 31st December Portland had written to Castiereagh — 
" Lord Ely called upon me this morning. He regretted 
much his not having met you on the road, and expressed 
disappointment at not finding you here. He professed to 
have formed no opinion respecting the Union, of course 
intimated many doubts, and affected ignorance ; and I am 
certainly not authorised to say more than that he is not 
averse from being convinced of the propriety of the 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., pp. 36, 37. 



The Story of the Union, 

measure."* The Karl had allowed it to become very 
apparent that he had his price. The letter which Corn- 
wallis enclosed to Portland for delivery to him ran in 
portions as follows : — 

Dublin Castle, Jan. 13, 1790. 
My Dear Lord — Lord Castlereagh has communicated to me 
your lordship's letter of the 7th instant. 

I am confident your lordship's disposition to give effect at all 
times to his Majesty's anxious endeavours to promote the happi- 
ness and security of Ireland will determine you, without hesita- 
tion, decidedly to support the full and fair investigation of a 
measure of such magnitude, in order that it may be submitted 
with every light that can be thrown on the subject by men of the 
most extensive information in both countries to the mature 
deliberation of Parliament. 

This, however, was mere surplusage. The important 
portion of the Viceroy's letter was to follow. It ran thus : — 

I think it my duty to acquaint your lordship that your opposi- 
tion to a proceeding so reasonable in itself, and which his 
Majesty's Ministers consider as indispensable to the internal 
tranquillity of Ireland and to the security of the empire, would 
he considered by the King's servants in both countries as an 
absolute separation on the part of your lordship and your friends 
from all connection with his Majesty's Government — an event 
which would be an equal subject of regret to me in my private 
and public situation. 

I cannot conclude without most earnestly requesting your 
lordship's presence as early as possible, and trust you will feel 
the indispensable necessity of losing no time in apprising your 
friends of your wishes and support of the King's Government, f 

This letter was, of course, intended as a notification to 
Ely that immediate dismissal from his profitable situations 
would follow an attempt to persevere in the course he had 
so adroitly given evidence of inclination to pursue. On 
the 15th January Lord Camden was able to write from 
London to Castlereagh describing its effect. He told how 
he had asked to see Lord Ely, and " found him biassed 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii., p. 62. The 
italics occur in the original, 
t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., pp. 37, 38. 

Told by its Plotters. 67 

against the Union, but, as he said, open to conviction ; and 
upon my asking him how his friends would vote on the 22nd 
if an amendment should be made to the Address, he told 
me they waited for instructions from hence." Then Camden 
proceeded, and his words are valuable as clearly proving 
Pitt's personal complicity in what can hardly be described 
by anyone as aught but a " blackguardly " transaction : — 

I lost no time in acquainting Mr. Pitt with the state of Lord 
Ely's mind, and he came up to town on purpose to see him. 
I collected from Mr, Pitt that he gave Lord Ely to understand his 
objects would be attended to, and, at all events, I understood 
that his friends would not object to the discussion of the 
measure, and that therefore they will not join in any amend- 
ment to the Address.* 

On the 17th January Pitt himself wrote Castlereagh a 
letter in which the following passage occurred : — 

Lord Ely. with whom I had a second conversation yesterday, 
was to set out for Ireland this morning. He professes to go quite 
unprejudiced, but is apparently very well disposed ; and, I rather 
hope, has made up his mind to support, f 

Pitt's promises and cajolery had their intended effect. 
On the 22nd the question of the Union was first mooted 
in the Irish House of Lords, in the debate on the Address 
in reply to the Speech from the Throne. Next day Corn- 
wallis was able to report to the Duke of Portland in the 
following words : — 

I am happy in being enabled to state that the general dis- 
position shown by the House of Lords was in favour of an 
Union. Lord Ely did not divide, but went behind the Throne.* 

Ely was undoubtedly bent on showing Ministers that if 
they wanted his support they should pay for it. His 
determination to act as if he was "quite unprejudiced'* 
was of no importance in the House of Lords, where the 

* Memoirs and Correspondence cf Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii., p. 111. 
t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lerd Castlereagh. Vol. ii., p. 116. 
Again the italics occur in the original. 
X Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., p. 41. 

68 The Story of the Union. 

Government had the support of 52 members against 1(> 
in the division, but ifc did make all the difference between 
victory and defeat in the House of Commons. He, from cor- 
rupt motives, like Downshire from patriotic, ordered the 
members for his pocket boroughs to remain away. The 
result was the defeat of Lord Castlereagh's proposals by a. 
majority of one, the voting being 105 for and 106 against* 

It was plain that Ely should be terrorised or pur- 
chased. On the 26th Portland wrote to Cornwallis, in 
regard to the conduct of the Earl, that he " considered it 
deserving of any punishment that could be inflicted." The 
steps which were taken proved effective. On the 27th 
March, Castlereagh wrote to Portland a letter which con- 
tained the following passage : — 

I am happy to inform your Grace (perhaps it is a tolerable in- 
dication on which side the strength is likely ultimately to lie), 
that Lord Ely has declared positively for the Union. The altera- 
tion intended in the plan for the representation has had its 
weight, no doubt, with his lordship. I cannot but consider this 
determination taken at the present moment as a very favour- 
able omen and extremely important, notwithstanding it is 
clogged with some awkwardness. He has brought into Parlia- 
ment a Mr. Shaw* and Mr. Luttrell. Lord Ely says that neither 
shall vote against us, and promises, if possible, to get rid of Mr. 

On the 8th July, Lord Cornwallis wrote to Portland 
stating, with reference to a suggestion which had come- 
from the latter, that a British peerage should be con- 
ferred on Lord Clare, that he " was not without appreh en- 
sion that it might occasion some dissatisfaction on the 
part of Lord Ely, whom we have at length, with much 
difficulty, brought to promise to take a zealous part 
in promoting resolutions in favour of the Union in 
those counties where his property gives him consider- 

* The future Sir Robert Shaw, father of Sir Frederick Shaw, the late 
Recorder of Dublin, 
t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. hi., p. 80. 

Told by its Plotters. 


able influence." A little reflection, however, made clear 
to Cornwallis that there was another view which it was 
possible to take of the existing situation, and he went 
on to declare that he thought it perfectly admissible that 
the peerage in question should be conferred on Clare, the 
more especially as he had formed the conviction " that it 
would be highly imprudent to allow Lord Ely to obtain 
the principal object of his wishes before that measure is 
carried which tends to deprive him of great portion of his 
importance."* In other words, he did not wish to trust 
Ely with the wages of his own dishonour until the work 
was finished for which they were to be paid. Eventually 
when the work was done, there was, owing to the 
•objections raised by George III. to the degradation of the 
English peerage, no slight difficulty in obtaining for Ely 
the so-called " honour," for sake of which he had bartered 
his own reputation and the votes of his followers. 

When at last the Union was carried Ely's earldom was 
changed into a marquisate, he was admitted into the peerage 
of England as Lord Lof tus, he retained his profitable appoint- 
ments, and he received a sum of £45,000 compensation for 
the disfranchisement of his pocket boroughs. In the whole 
history of the transactions connected with the destruction 
of the Irish Parliament there is scarcely one more disgrace- 
ful to all concerned or which casts a more vivid light on the 
methods pursued by Pitt and Castlereagh in order to secure 
the end they had in view than that the story of which we 
have now told. 

As we have just shown by certain of the letters already 
quoted, the Unionist conspirators did not confine their 
efforts merely to corruption and bribery ; they adopted a 
system of open and undisguised intimidation towards every 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol iii., p. 113. 


The Story of the Union. 

member of Parliament who was at all within their power. 
On the 11th January, Cornwallis wrote Portland a letter 
containing a passage which was almost brutal in its frank 
avowal of a dishonest policy. The Lord Lieutenant 
wrote : — 

L have already felt it a question of considerable delicacy to 
decide in what instances and at what period it was expedient 
to remove persons from office who have either taken a decided 
line against the measure, or who, without acting publicly, hold a. 
language equally prejudicial to its success, and equally inconsis- 
tent with their connection with Government. In the instance 
of Mr. J. C. Beresford, whose conduct has been very hostile at 
many of the Dublin meetings, the difficulty has been peculiarly 
felt. With a view of impressing our friends with the idea of our 
being in earnest, his dismissal seemed desirable ; on the other 
hand, as ive profess to encourage discussion * and neither to pre- 
cipitate Parliament or the country on the discussion, much less 
to force it against the public sentiment, there seemed an objec- 
tion to a very early exercise of Ministerial authority on the in- 
ferior servants of the Crown. I have, therefore, thought it 
expedient to proceed, in the first instance, with the Chancellor of 
the Exchequer. f 

Sir Jonah Barrington has left us a striking description of 
the statesman referred to by Cornwallis in this letter, 
which it cannot be without interest to quote. This able 
lawyer wrote of Sir John Parnell : — " After an honest,, 
faithful, and zealous service of his King for seventeen 
years — as Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer — he was called 
upon by the Minister to sacrifice his principles and betray 
his country — to efface the impressions of his youth and 
tarnish the honour of his maturity — to violate his faith and: 
falsify his conviction. But the fetters of office could not 
restrain the spirit of its captive. He lost his station, but 
he retained his integrity, and was compensated for the con- 

* The italics are ours. 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagli. Vol. ii., pp. 91, 92. 
The Chancellor of the Exchequer^was Sir John Parnell, who was removed 
from office, and succeeded by the Eight Hon. Isaac Corry. Sir John was 
member for the Queen's County, and residedin Dawson-street and at Rath- 
league, Athy. 

Told by its Plotters 


sequences of an undeserved dismissal by the approbation of 
his conscience and the affection of his country. The Volun- 
teer corps which he commanded early and zealously adopted 
the cause of Irish independence — a cause he strenuously 
adhered to until the last moment of his existence ; and 
in that noble firmness with which he resisted a Legis- 
lative Union and disobeyed the mandates of a crafty and 
vindictive Viceroy he has left to the present age a brilliant 
and a rare example of a Minister honest enough to prefer 
his character to his office, and proud enough to postpone 
his interest to his honour."* Such was Sir John Parnell 
as he appeared to his contemporaries. 

Five days later, on the 16th January, Cornwallis was able 
to report to Portland that he had carried out his threat, 
and dismissed Sir John from his position as Chancellor of 
the Exchequer. He declared that, as he had "found him 
determined not to support the Union, he had notified to him 
his dismission from office. " Cornwallis proceeded to add that 
he would " pursue the same line of conduct, without favour 
or partiality, whenever I may think it will tend to promote 
the success of the measure. "f What the Viceroy meant by 
the words, " without favour or partiality," probably only 
himself could have explained. The policy which he carried 
out is, however, well exemplified by his action in the cases, 
of Ely and Parnell. The twin weapons of the Unionists 
were corruption and intimidation, just as they have been 
the chief defences of their work ever since. 

On the same day on wdiich Cornwallis despatched the 
letter just quoted, two of some interest were being for- 
warded to himself. One of these, from the Duke of 

* Historic Memoirs of Ireland, by Sir Jonah Barrington. London edition 
of 1825. Vol. i., pp. 120, 121. 
t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cormvallis. Vol, hi., p. 3S. 


The Story of the Union. 

Leinster, brought the outspoken declaration that, so far as 
the Union was concerned, 

Having made up my mind upon the subject, I am determined 
to give the question every opposition I can.* 

The other was from Lord Inchiquin,t and its tenor was 
worthy of the bearer of a name of evil omen to Irish 
Catholics. This titled bigot wrote : — 

I have but one opinion or wish on the subject of your 
Excellency's letter, and that has been for many years the same, 
from my thorough knowledge of the fixed spirit and disposition 
of the lower Papists of Ireland, that nothing but a Union can 
keep that bigoted spirit within bounds, independent of the great 
and general benefit it will be to this kingdom, not only in com- 
mercial advantage, but to its morals and civilisation by the 
spreading of manufactures and trades through the south and 
south-west of the kingdom, at present little removed from 
original barbarism. + 

The price of this letter and the support by which it was 
followed up was the Marquisate of Thomond. 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. iii. , p. 1 1 5. Of 
the Duke, who was the father of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Barrington 
says :— " His disposition and his address combined almost every quality 
which could endear him to the nation. The honesty of his heart might 
occasionally mislead the accuracy of his judgment, but he always intended 
right, and his political errors usually sprung from the principle of modera- 
tion."— Historic Memoirs of Ireland, Vol. i., p. 154. 

t Murrogh O'Brien, fifth Earl of Inchiquin. He was created Marquis 
of Thomond for his vote and services in behalf of the Union. He lived to a 
great age, having been born in 1723, and dying, from the effects of a fall 
from his horse, Feb. 10th, 1808. A contemporary account, published in 
a London paper, thus describes his death : — " About half-past one o'clock, 
as the Marquis of Thomond was riding through Grosvenor-square, towards 
the S.E. corner, attended by a servant, his horse suddenly started, or got 
unexpectedly on the pavement, when he seemed to plunge, and whether 
from the slipperiness by the frost, or otherwise, the animal threw the 
marquis to a considerable distance in the carriageway or kennel, where 
his lordship was taken up dead." Inchiquin's children had all predeceased 
him, his brother, who succeeded him, died childless, and the title, for 
which he bartered his honour, is now extinct. 

X Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii., pp. 115, 

Told, by its Plotters. 



The hour for the first struggle in Parliament on the 
question of the Union was now approaching. On the 21st 
January, 1799, Cornwallis wrote to his friend Major-General 
Ross* as follows : — 

Dear Ross— Here I am embarked in all my troubles, and 
employed in a business which is ill-suited to my taste*, and for 
which I am afraid I am not qualified. We think ourselves toler- 
ably strong as to numbers, but so little confidence is to be placed 
in professions, and people change their opinions here with so little 
ceremony, that no man can feel his mind quite at ease on that 

The demands of our friends rise in proportion to the appearance 
of strength on the other side ; and you, who know how I detest 
a job, will be sensible of the difficulties which I must often have 
to keep my temper ; but still the object is great, and perhaps 
the salvation of the British empire may depend upon it. I shall, 
therefore, as much as possible, overcome my detestation of the 
woik in which I am engaged, and march on steadily to my point. 

Then Cornwallis proceeded to give expression to his 
opinion as to the feeling in the country relative to the 
Union. To anyone who knows anything of the curious 
channels through which Irish news is filtered before it 
reaches the ears of an honest Viceroy, it will not seem 
strange to ask that Cornwallis's words shall be received 
rather as descriptive of the reports conveyed to him 
than as the record of his cwn actual impressions. He 
went on : — 

The South of Ireland are well disposed to the Union ; the North 
seem in a state of neutrality, or rather apathy, on the subject, 
which is to me incomprehensible ; but all the counties in the 
middle of the island, from Dublin to Galway, are violent 
against it. 

* This was the future General Alexander Ross, Colonel 5 9 th Regiment, 
and Governor of Fort George. He was born 1742, and died November 29th, 
1827. During Cornwallis's American campaigns he acted as his aide-de- 
camp, and remained his life-long friend. 


The Story of the Union. 

The Catholics on the whole behave better than I expected, and I 
do not think that popular tumult is anywhere to be apprehended, 
except in the metropolis.* 

On the 23rd January Cornwallis had to report to the 
Duke of Portland the temporary failure of the plans of 
the conspirators through what was equivalent to the rejec- 
tion of their proposals by the House of Commons. In 
the Lords their machinations had been crowned with some 
measure of success, but the Lower House had so far 
defeated their efforts. t Cornwallis went on to tell what 
had happened in the Commons. He said : — 

In the House of Commons a similar address to that in the 
Lords was moved by Lord Tyrone, and seconded by Mr. Fitz- 
gerald, member for the County of Cork, who both spoke firmly 
and shortly their sentiments in favour of an Union, but 
called upon the House merely to give the subject a discussion, 
without pledging them to the principle. 

Sir John Parnell followed, and opposed in a fair and candid 
manner, without entering into topics of violence, the principle 
and the measure of an Union in general. He was followed by 
Mr. George Ponsonby, who chiefly dwelt upon the incompe- 
tency of Parliament to entertain the subject, and made an ani- 
mated appeal to the passions of the House to support the 
national pride and independence ; and he concluded with an 
amendment — " That the House would be ready to enter into 
any measure short of surrendering their free, resident, and inde- 
pendent Legislature as established in 1782." 

Cornwallis went on to describe how this proposal brought 
about "a general debate, which lasted till one o'clock this 
day," when a division took place, and 105 members voted 
for Ponsonby's amendment and 106 against it. A further 
division took place on the question of the adoption of the 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. hi., pp. 30, 40. 

t In the House of Lords, Lord Powerseourt moved as an amendment to 
the proposals of the Unionists— ' ' That it is our most earnest desire to 
strengthen the connection between the two countries by every possible 
means; but the measure of a Legislative Union, we apprehend, is not 
within the limits of our power. We beg leave also to represent to your 
Majesty that, although this House were competent to adopt such a 
measure, we conceive that it would be highly impolitic so to do, as it 
would tend, in our opinion, more than any other cause ultimately to a sepa- 
ration of this kingdom from that of Great Britain." This amendment 
was rejected by 46 votes to 19, as was also another, moved by Lord 
Bellamont, by 52 votes to 16. 

Told by its Plotters. 75 

Address in favour of the suggested Union, when 107 
members voted in its favour, and 105 against. The Lord 
Lieutenant proceeded : — 

Upon the question being run so close, Mr. Ponsonby proposed 
fixing an early day for a debate on the principle, but Lord Castle- 
reagh thought it prudent to inform the House that he should not 
persist any further in the measure at present. On being asked 
whether this declaration meant that he would not renew the 
question this session, his Lordship said that he could not pledge- 
himself so far, that it had been the object of Government to let 
the people know that it was their decided opinion that a legisla- 
tive L T nion was the only measure which could heal the distrac- 
tions of the country, and secure its connection with Great Britain, 
that in that idea they were unalterably fixed ; he was not, how- 
ever, desirous of forcing the measure with any precipitation, nor 
against the wish of the House. If, however, the state of this- 
country and the public mind should change, he thought in such 
a case be should be justified in resuming the subject.* 

Describing the period which was now opening, Plowden 
has written : — M About this time commenced a very singular 
system of members shifting their seats in Parliament 
according to their various feelings and sentiments, and in 
some instances according to the most unaccountable modes 
of squaring their honours and consciences on this critical 
and important measure. It would be both false and stupid 
to deny that the whole powers of Government patronage, 
influence, and emolument were now devoted to the pro- 
selytising for the Union. Both in and out of Parliament 
the opposite parties exerted their respective means of 
attraction and seduction with the utmost vigour and zeal, 
and, it must be admitted, not in all instances with the 
utmost delicacy and correctness. No political question was 
ever moved that more warmly interested its advocates and 
opponents : their exertions and means were proportionate 
to their earnestness and zealot Of the debate which had 
just concluded the editor of the " Cornwall Papers " 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., pp. 41, 42. 
t An Historical Review of the State of Ireland. VoL iii, pp. 9 1) 7, 6 S. It 
is right to remember that Plowden was an Unionist 


The Story of the Union. 

wrote : " The sitting of the House was of unprecedented 
length. It continued without intermission from about 4 
o'clock p.m. on Tuesday, January 22nd, until 1 o'clock p.m. 
of the next day. Including tellers and the Speaker, 217 
members divided : seven seats were vacant, and the absent 
members were 76. . . . Of the members who divided, 
30 spoke for and 45 against Government."* On the 24th 
January the opponents of the Union were still more suc- 
cessful than in the first divisions, and, by a majority of 
five votes, carried an amendment expunging from the 
Address to the King all reference to the Union suggested 
in the Speech from the Throne. A few days afterwards 
Lord Castlereagh sent an analysis of the voting to the 
Duke of Portland. We will be excused the introduction 
of some italics in the memorandum, which was as 
iollows : — 

Voted with Government on the Address, or on the Keport.. . 113 

Friends absent ... ... ... ... 39 


Voted against, who had been expected to vote for (most of 

them having distinctly promised support) ... ... 22 

Voted against, or absent enemies ... ... ... 129 

Of these might be bought off ... ... ... 20 

Vacancies ... ... ... ... ... 7f 

Of what had taken place in the earlier divisions the 
S3nior Beresford, that past master of the art of corrup- 
tion and olden enemy of the rights of Ireland, wrote to 
his friend, Lord Auckland : — 

Dublin, 24th January, 1799. 

My Dear Auckland— I wrote you two or three Jines from 
my bed last night, merely to say that we were defeated to all 
intents and purposes. 

I all along thought that the Government were deceived in 
their numbers, and that this business would end like the Irish 
Propositions. J When the division came the numbers were 106 

7 Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. 
t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. 
X Orde's Commercial Propositions, already referred to. 

iii. , p. 44. 
iii., p. 44. 

Told by its Plotters. 


and 105— many deserters on the side of the Government, and 
the greatest violence on the part of the Opposition. 1 never 
was witness to such a scene ; you would have thought that you 
were in a Polish Diet. Direct treason spoken, resistance to the 
law declared, encouraged, and recommended. I never heard such 
vulgarity and barharism. I cannot bring myself to repeat what 
was said or done.* 

How very fastidious ! Beresford went on ; he was 
evidently panic-stricken at what had happened : — 

The sword is now fairly drawn, and the Speaker will now 
attempt to force Government, and try who shall rule Ireland. 
He will be very troublesome, and will be joined by the Ponsonbys, 
and followed by many well-meaning people ; but he will not 
prevail at the end unless through the pusillanimity of Govern- 
ment. At this moment I speak only my conjectures ; a few days 
will open things. There were the greatest rejoicings last night 
through the city — bonfires, illuminations, &c. The mob drew 
the Speaker home ; they broke all windows not illuminated, 
amongst others the Chancellor's. He fired on them, and dispersed 
them im mediately. f 

Meantime, while the Constitution of the kingdom was. 
being assailed in its very cradle, a system of cruel terrorism 
was rampant throughout the country, which lay prostrate 
at the feet of a licentious soldiery.! On the 20th 
February the Attorney-General, Toler, afterwards 
Norbury, introduced an iniquitous measure into the House 
of Commons, entitled " A Bill to Suppress the Rebellion," 
although all trace of insurrection had ceased to exist, and the 
people merely writhed in the hands of their tyrants and 
torturers. The new Bill proposed to invest the Lord 
Lieutenant with extravagant powers. He was to be enabled 
to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act at his discretion, and to 
establish martial law, to empower all military officers or 

* BeresfoixVs Correspondence. Vol. ii., p. 194. 

+ Beresford's Correspondence. Vol. ii., p. 196. Clare nearly lost his life 
on the occasion referred to, but his great courage saved him. He faced the 
mob, pistols in hand, and cowed them without tiring. 

X When Lord Castlereagh moved the supply, on the 18th of Februarv, 
1799, he stated that the expense of^the war establishment was £4,815,367 
for the sustainment of a military force of 137,590 men, composed of 
32,281 regular troops, 20,054 militia, and 57,274 yeomanry, with 
25,000 men belonging to the English military establishment. 


The Story of the Union. 

other persons appointed by him to suppress rebellion, or 
whatever might be called by that name, in the most 
■summary manner thqy thought proper, by courtsmartial or 
otherwise, without any appeal to any legal tribunal, as 
w r ell as to arrest any persons they thought fit to seize on 
mere suspicion. The Bill was passed — passed, shame to 
say, by the very Parliament which had just mustered up 
virtue and courage to spurn the suggested Union, but at 
whose existence it was aimed just as much as at the lives 
and liberties of the poor people it ostensibly assailed. 

When the session came to a close, Cornwallis, in the 
Speech from the Throne, thanked the two Houses for 
having placed the Executive in possession of such sweeping- 
powers. He assured them that he was " sensible of the 
confidence which they had reposed in him, by enabling him 
to exercise the powers of martial law in the manner best 
adapted to the present circumstances of the country, " 
and he went on to declare that it would be his 
" care to employ those powers for the purposes for which 
they were given, by taking the most effectual and 
summary measures for the suppression and punishment 
of rebellious proceedings."'"* Cornwallis himself was far 
from being a cruel or unscrupulous man, but it is impos- 
sible to hold him absolved from serious blame for having 
permitted tbe bestowal of the powers conferred by Toler's 
measure on the Orange magistracy and military officials 
throughout the country. 

Grattan's son has left us a description of the effects 
of the new law.t He says : — " The entire county of 
Antrim was declared to be in a state of disturbance, and 

* Plowden's Historical Eeview of the State of Ireland. Vol. iii., pp. 

975, 76. 

t Memoirs of the Life and Times of the Eight Hon. Henry Grattan. By 
his son, Henry Grattan, M.P. London, 1849. Vol. v., pp. 32, 33. 

Told by its Plotters. 


proclaimed by orders of General Nugent, and placed 
under martial law. The comity of Mayo was also pro- 
claimed by the Lord Lieutenant, and divisions of troops 
stationed in various quarters throughout the country. 
Trials by courtmartial still continued. On 21st May the 
case of Walter Devereux occurred ; he was accused of 
having been a leader in the insurrection the year before. 
He was tried by a military tribunal, and condemned 
to death. The sentence was singular and barbarous — 
that the prisoner should be hanged, that he should have 
his head cut off, his heart burned, and his body quartered 
This cruel and infamous sentence Lord Cornwallis, it is 
said, after mature deliberation, approved and confirmed ! 
This was but one of the numerous instances of Lord Clare's 
and Lord Castlereagh's system — their mode of governing 
Ireland — their e vigour beyond the law.' . . . With 
perfect truth it has been said that the object of the 
Government was to carry the Union by terror and intimi- 
dation. In furtherance of the project Mr. Toler brought 
in an Indemnity Bill on the 29 th April — a measure well 
suited to the character of the author, and to the conduct 
pursued by the Government towards the people, but 
fatal to the reputation of the House of Commons. This 
Bill indemnified all persons who had resorted to illegal 
measures against the insurgents. One of its provisions 
enacted that the jury should not convict if the magis- 
trates could prove that in what they had done they had 
acted for the purpose of suppressing the Rebellion." 

These abominable measures were both part of a settled 
policy. The writer from whom we have just quoted goes 
on to describe what this was. Speaking of the Bill last 
referred to, he says : — " This measure having become 
law, presented an effectual bar to redress, and so it appeared 


The Story of the Union, 

to Lord Avonmore,* who tried a case under it, and 
who expressed himself in a very remarkable manner on 
the occasion ; thus, as far as regarded all those individuals 
who had suffered from the violent and illegal conduct of 
magistrates, it was a complete denial of justice, but as 
regarded the Legislature it set a seal on their conduct, 
and affixed upon its- character an everlasting stain 
which neither contrition nor time could efface. It was 
by measures such as these that the Government calculated 
on effecting their designs ; by thus degrading the repre- 
sentatives in the eyes of the people they knew the 
nation would soon become indifferent to their fate, and 
rather prefer their extinction to their existence ; realising 
the very words of Lord Clare, that ' he would make the 
people of Ireland sick of their Constitution' "f 

In the whole history of nations it is doubtful if a parallel 
could be found for the diabolical plot which was now being 
put in practice, and which was being carried into execution 
with a thoroughness and an unscrupulousness which it is 
difficult nowadays to believe possible. It is not wonderful 
that under such circumstance, with their every sense of 
right and justice daily outraged, many good Irishmen 
were tempted to forget the wondrous benefits a native 
Legislature had conferred upon their country, in presence 
of the wrongs which the mingled cowardice, bigotry, and 
corruption of its present members rendered possible. This 
was precisely the end which Pitt, Oastlereagh, Clare, 
Toler, Cooke, and the other conspirators had in view, and in 

* The Lord Chief Baron, at the period referred to, Lord Yelverton. He 
was bcrn May 28th, 1736, at Newmarket, county Cork. Yelverton was 
M.P. for Belfast in 1776, and for Carrickfergus 1783. At first an 
ardent Nationalist, he gradually went over to the Castle, and in 1782 
became Attorney-General, being elevated to the Bench, November 29th, 
1783. He was made Viscount Avonmore, December 29th, 1800, and 
died August 19th, IS 05. He resided in Marlborough-street, and after- 
wards in Ely-place. 

t Memoirs of Grattan. Vol. v., pp. 33, 34. 

Told by its Plotters 


which they succeeded to an extent which, however 

lamentable, was not inexplicable. 

On the 25th January, Beresford wrote Lord Auckland 

detailiug the events of that day. Portion of his letter, 

presenting as it does a brief description of what passed, 

may be quoted : — 

My Dear Auckland— The House sat till seven this morning; 
the debate was on expunging the words which stated that we 
would take the part of the King's Speech into consideration 
which related to "uniting more closely, &c, &c" The result 
was, we were beaten by five, I was very ill and not sent for. 
Mr. Connolly was ill. * Sir Hercules Langrishe was, I hear, ill, 
and one of the Knoxes ; but had we all been there, we should 
have been defeated by one. ; " 

Next day Beresford wrote again to Auckland : — • 

Dublin, 26th January, 1799. 
My Dear Auckland— Every hour opens new events. In 
the last debate the vanity of Mr Barring toni* let out that there 
was a negotiation going on between the opponents of the U nion 
and the Roman Catholics, for the purpose of obtaining their 
assistance against the measure. When he had let out so much, 
I understand that two or three of his party pulled him down, 
and stopped him going further. This has given alarm to the 
Protestant opposers, and may produce goods effects. 

The folly and malice by which everyone is pursued in this 
country, who supported the Union is beyond belief. Lord 
Ormonde and Lord Westmeath are in debt, and the traders to 
whom they are indebted sent in their bills, and not being paid 
directly, they have procured executions. The goods were actu- 
ally advertised before the execution was laid on. This is going 
rather far. To-day Lords Glentworth and Donoughmore were 
assaulted in the street going to the House. In short, there 
is an attempt to beat down everyone.— Yours ever, 

J. B.S 

The overtures referred to by Beresford were un- 
doubtedly made by some of the leading anti-Unionists 
to the principal Catholics, and the fact of their having 
been made shows conclusively that while their political 

* Beresford's Correspondence. Vol. ii., p. 197. 

t This was Sir Jonah Barrington, M.P. for Clogher, Judge of the Admi- 
ralty Court, and afterwards author of the "Historic Memoirs of Ireland," &c. 
X Beresford's Correspondence. Vol. ii., pp. 199, 200. 



The Story of the Union. 

course was unfortunate and mistaken, the Catholic leaders 
did not act as they did from what can be described as cor- 
rupt or personal motives. It is clear as noonday that 
both Unionists and anti-Unionists were bidding for their 
support, and it is equally clear that, at the particular 
moment in question the anti-Unionists were the most 
liberal as w r ell as definite in their promises. This fact 
enables us to see that the course taken by Dr. Troy, Lord 
Kenmare, Lord Fingal, and others, deplorably unwise and 
short-sighted though it now appears to be, was not one dic- 
tated only by narrow or sectarian views, although, no 
doubt, the prospect of securing the Emancipation of their 
co-religionists formed an important item in their calcula- 
tions, as it would equally have done had they decided to 
cast in their lot with the anti-Unionists. On the 25th 
January, Castlereagh had written to the Duke of Portland, 
saying : — " I understand that Lord Kenmare has seen the 
Lord Lieutenant, and intimated to him that it was intended 
to bring on the Catholic question. His Excellency will 
write further to your Grace on this subject to-morrow."* 

Cornwallis's letter here referred to by Castlereagh was 
one of a very interesting nature, casting much light on 
the views held by Kenmare and many of the other 
Catholic leaders. If not creditable to the vigour of his 
lordship's patriotism, as Irishmen are now inclined to 
judge, it is right to remember when perusing it Clare's 
threat, which we have quoted. 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii.. n. 134. 

Told by its Plotters. 



Cornwallis's letter last referred to was as follows : — 

Dublin Castle, Jan. 26tb, 1799. 

My Lord— Lord Kenmare has informed me that on the day 
of the meeting of Parliament the Ponsonbys and the part of the 
Opposition which was the least indisposed to the Catholics had 
sent to the principal persons of that religion in the metropolis to 
assure them that if they would present a petition against the 
Union, a motion should be made, as soon as the question of Union 
was disposed of, in favour of Catholic Emancipation. 

His lordship says that although this proposition was not 
accepted, the same gentlemen have since the rejection of the 
Union assured the Catholics that they would now bring forward 
the question of Emancipation, and the expresses his apprehen- 
sions that himself and those of that persuasion who wish to keep 
their brethren quiet will not have sufficient weight with them to 
prevent their entering heartily into the measure. 

The Lord Lieutenant went on to give his English 
colleague his views as to the probable effect of the Anti- 
Union Party adopting a liberal policy towards the Catholics. 
He wrote : — 

The proposal of Union provoked the enmity principally of the 
boroughmongers, laywers, and persons who, from local circum- 
stances, thought they should be losers, but it certainly has not 
affected the nation at large, nor was it disagreeable either to the 
Catholics or to the Protestant Dissenters. Very different will be 
the effect of agitating the question of Emancipation, especially 
when the Catholics are reminded that it w r as the intention of 
Government to continue to exclude them from a participation of 
privileges at the Union.* 

Cornwallis had all along been in favour of promising the 
Catholics Emancipation as a corollary of the Union. In a 
letter, written two days later than that just quoted, ho was 
still more explicit in recommending his favourite policy, and 
still more candid in his description of the feelings of the 

Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., p. 52. 


The Story of the Union, 

great bulk of the Catholics of Ireland relative to the 
suggested Union. On the 28th January he wrote to 
Portland : — 

The religious question will probably he first taken up. It is 
plain that upon a mere principle of pursuing power, ambi- 
tion, and revenge, it is the interest of the Catholics to obtain 
political equality without an Union ; for as the general 
democratic power of the State is increasing daily by the general 
wealth and prosperity, and as the Catholics form the greater 
part of the democracy, their power must proportionately increase 
whilst the kingdoms are separate and the Irish oligarchy is 
stationary or declining. The Catholics, therefore, if offered 
equality without an Union, will probably prefer it to equality 
with an Union, for in the latter case they must ever be content 
with inferiority ; in the former they would probably by degrees 
gain ascendency 

In addition to the usual supporters of Emancipation, many of 
the anti-Union party will now take up the Catholic cause, the 
beUer to defeat the question of Union. They will thus expect 
to detach the Catholics from Government, and to engage the 
mob of the whole kingdom against the Union.""' 

On the following day, the 29th, Portland wrote to 
Castlereagh, congratulating him on his conduct in the 
two great debates in which he had so lately taken such a 
prominent part, and declaring that he " should do the rest 
of the King's servants, as well as himself, great injustice, 
were he to defer their fullest assurances of the satisfac- 
tion " his conduct had given them. The letter went on : — 

I wrote to the Lord Lieutenant yesterday on the subject of his 
conversation with Lord Kenmare, in which I deprecated in the 
strongest terms any encouragement being given to the Catho- 
lics to hope for any alteration in their situation so long as the 
Parliament of Ireland should continue in its present state. 
The more I consider that proposition the more I am convinced 
that it never ought to be attempted, unless a Union takes 
place ; that in the present circumstances — I mean the state of 
Ireland's present independence — it would be equally injurious to 
the orderly Catholics who are now possessed of landed and per- 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., p. 54. It 
is a curious fact that in the Castlereagh Correspondence, Vol. ii. , p. 139, 
this letter is ascribed to Lord Castlereagh. In all probability it was written 
by him and signed by Cornwallis. Many of the Lord Lieutenant's despatches 
were composed by Castlereagh. 

Told by its Plotters. 85 

sonal property, and to the Protestants, and that it would 
once more deluge the country in blood, and that what is called 
Catholic Emancipation cannot be attempted with safety to the 
persons of either persuasion but through the medium of a 
Union and by the means of a United Parliament. * 

In other words, Emancipation was to be held in reserve 
tis a bribe the payment of which was dependent on the 
annihilation of the Irish Legislature. The truth is, 
however, that to have made the removal of Catholic 
disabilities a recognised feature in the programme of either 
Unionists or anti-Unionists would have meant the certain 
defeat of the party adopting it. In the House there were 
a number of men, such as Clare and Foster, disagreeing 
fiercely enough upon political topics, but absolutely 
united in their detestation of the Catholics and of that 
growing " Democratic power" of which Cornwallis spoke in 
his letter, of the 28th January, to Portland, which we have 
quoted. It was the votes of these men which enabled the 
passage of the infamous " Bill to Suppress Piebellion," 
described in the last section, and the even still more 
infamous " Bill of Indemnity," which passed a sponge over 
the record of the crimes of Beresford, Sirr, Fitzgerald, 
and other scoundrels of the same stamp, giving them 
nbsolute immunity from the consequences of their barba- 
rity. On the 31st, John Beresford, the elder, wrote to 
Auckland. In his letter he explained very clearly the state 
of things we have been endeavouring to describe. He 
said : — 

The Ponsonbys have been much disappointed in not being able 
to raise their faction into strength by the opposition to the 
Union ; but the country gentlemen have come across them in 
every attempt, and declared that their opposition was to the 
single measure of Union, and that they would in all things else 
support the Government. An intrigue has been carrying on 
between certain of the Opposition and the Roman Catholics, 
which has been interrupted also by the country gentlemen. Mr. 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii., pp. 147, 48. 


The Story of the Union. 

Barrington let it out of the bag, on which there was an imme- 
diate threat from the country gentlemen that they would desert 
them. The Papists are endeavouring to work with both parties, 
but there are great embarrassments in their way— the Speaker 
and Co. on one side, and the Chancellor and Co. on the other ; 
they will be much perplexed to know how to act.* 

On the same day on which Beresford wrote to Auckland 
a very notable man wrote to Lord Castlereagh a letter which 
is worth being quoted. This was the unfortunate and 
misguided but talented and accomplished Thomas Lewis 
O'Beirne, Protestant Bishop of Meath. His letter was as 
follows : — 

January 31st, 1799. 

My Loed— I found a note on my table last night informing 
me that the Roman Catholics have by common consent postponed 
their intention of coming forward in any way, and resolved nob 
to embarrass Government for the present. 

I would submit to your lordship the expediency of sending for 
Lord Fingal and Lord Kenmare, and whomsoever else they would 
advise your lordship to see, and have some conversation witfo 
them. If I could further presume to offer my advice, it would 
be to make the following an article of the Union : — That all 
pains, penalties, and exclusions whatever that are now in force 
against the Roman Catholics of Ireland should be repealed (ex- 
cepting the Lord Lieutenant and principal secretary), and that 
their admission to seats in the United Parliament should be left 
to be settled by that Parliament. I can see no possibility of 

* Beresford's Correspondence. Vol. ii., p. 203. Beresford 's letter went 
on : — "The French have certainly informed their agents here that they will 
be on our coast before the 1 th of February, and the rebels believe it, and are 
preparing for action. Now, whether they come or do not, be not surprised 
at an insurrection ; the rebels are up in Gal way, and have clone great mis- 
chief by destroying cattle, &c, and they destroy Papists' as well as Protes- 
tants' cattle. The mail coaches are now regularly robbed by a banditti of 
from twenty to thirty men ; the proprietors have lost, in ten days, thirty-six 
horses, and being this clay refused compensation, they have declined to run 
any longer, so we have no post now." The two mail coaches leaving 
Dublin daily, before the stoppage referred to, were the Southern mail 
coach, carrying four inside and one outside passenger, starting from 31 Fleet- 
street ; the Northern mail coach, with four inside and one outside passenger,, 
leaving the Belfast Hotel, Capel-street ; while the Athlone, the Drumsna, 
the Galway, and Tuam coaches started thrice a week from Hynes' Hotel, 11 
Tighe-street, as did likewise the Ballinasloe and Leitrim coaches, which, 
started from Sandy's Hotel, Smithfield ; the Cavan, Clones, and Monaghan 
coaches, which started from Potts', 105 North King-street, the Newry 
coach, which started from 1 Bolton-street, and the Limeiick and Drogheda 
coaches, which started respectively from Nos. 7 and 65 in the same street. 
In addition to these there was a conveyance known as "the Granard Fly," 
starting from M'Evoy's, 1 Tighe-street, twice a week. 

Told by its Plotters. 


danger to the Protestant establishment in either country from 
such a regulation under the proposed system of Union, although 
I might fear the consequences of it under the old system. — I have 
the honour to be, &e., 

T. L. MEATH.* 

Only the day before this letter was written Cornwallis 
had forwarded another to Portland, in which he expressed 
the opinion that it was incumbent upon the Unionists " to 
take some immediate line with respect to the Catholics," 
for whose support, he declared, he found, from a conversa- 
tion he had had with Lord Fingal, the Anti-Unionists were 
still bidding ;J but his letter was crossed in the post by 
two from Portland, one dated the 29th and the other the 
30th January, in the first of which the Duke declared to 
the Viceroy that " Catholic Emancipation must not be 
granted but through the medium of an Union and by 
moans of an united Parliament," while in the second he 
was even still more decided and imperative. § " No Union, 
no Emancipation," was to be the fixed declaration of the 
Irish Government so far as the Catholics were concerned. 

On the 4th February Elliot wrote a letter to Castlereagh 
of little importance, save in so far as it throws light upon 
the difficulties which travellers had to encounter at the 

* The Bishop, who had heen horn and reared a Catholic, never entirely 
lost his friendly feelings for the followers of the old Faith. With his 
brother, he was educated at St. Omer's, and ordained a priest ; but, visiting 
England, he fell under the influence of the Archbishop of Canterbury and 
Bishop of Peterborough, who, by promises of worldly advancement, induced 
him to profess Protestantism. Immediately on his doing so he was 
appointed, first, chaplain to Lord Howe, and afterwards private secretary 
to the Duke of Portland, both when Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and 
Premier. During Lord Fitzwilliam's viceroy alty he acted as his chaplain, 
and, shortly after his resignation, the Bishopric of Ossory becoming vacant, 
he obtained the See. In a short time he was translated to the See of Meath, 
which he held up to his death, on the 15th February, 1823. He was 
married November 1, 1783, to the daughter of the Hon. Francis Stuart, son 
of the sixth Earl of Moray. O'Beirne's town residence was in Great Den- 
mark-street ; his episcopal, Ardbraccan House, county Meath. By a remark- 
able coincidence, his brother, Father John O'Beirne, a true and worthy 
priest, had charge of a parish within the district of which Thomas was the 
fetate Church Bishop. 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. hi., p. 5S. 

X Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. hi., p. 59. 

88 The Story of the Union. 

period in question. From this point of view portion may, 
perhaps, be quoted. It ran as follows : — 

Burlington House, Monday, February 4th, 1799. 
My Dear Lord Castlereagh— Owing to the desperate state 
of the roads, your letter of the 29th ult. did not reach me until 
to-day. ... I had a sad journey hither, and fear I shall not 
have a better on my return. The Holyhead mail-coach, which 
ought to have arrived on Saturday, is not yet come. The mail 
was brought by the guard on horseback. ' There has not been 
so heavy a fall of snow for several years past.— Believe me 
ever, &c, 

William Elliot.* 

About this time Corry, who had been appointed Chancellor 
of the Exchequer instead of Parnell, was obliged, on his 
accession to his new office, to offer himself for re-election. 
Through the efforts of Dr. Troy, the Catholics of Newry 
supported him, and thereby secured his election. Amongst 
the " Castlereagh Papers " has been preserved a letter from 
the "Rev. Dr. Lennan, of that town, to the Archbishop, 
which is too important to be passed over ; while, in perusing 
it, it will be well to bear in mind the various facts already 
quoted which tend to explain the action of his Grace and 
his co-religionists. The letter in question ran as follows : — 

Newry, February 7, 1799. 

My Dear Lord— I have the pleasure to inform your lordship 
that your friend, Mr. Corry, was this day re-elected for the town 
of Newry. Mr. Ball, with his partisans, after canvassing the 
town for eight days, declined the poll, and surrendered yesterday. 
The Catholics stuck together like the Macedonian phalanx, and 
with ease were able to turn the scale in favour of the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer. He is very sensible of the efficacy of your 
interference, and their steadiness. 

I am with the greatest esteem and the most sincere affection, 

Mat Lennan. 

No person but Mr. Corry knows that you wrote to me. Have 
you any ecclesiastical news, &c. ?f 

What had happened was this: Cornwallis and Castlereagh 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii., p. 161. 
t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii. , p. 168. 

Told by its Plotters. 89 

had offered Dr. Troy and certain other Catholic prelates 
to secure a State stipend for the bishops and priests of 
Ireland when the Union should have been carried, and 
provided a right of veto were given the Crown on episcopal 
elections. This proposal had been accepted. Some of the 
prelates had passed the following resolutions : — 

At a meeting of the Roman Catholic prelate?, held in Dublin 
on the 17th, ISth, and 19th of January, 1799, to deliberate on a 
proposal from Government for an independent provision for the 
Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland, under certain regulations not 
incompatible with their doctrines, discipline, or just influence — 
it was admitted : 

That a provision through Government for the Roman Catholic 
clergy of this kingdom, competent and secured, ought to be 
thankfully accepted. 

That in the appointment of the prelates of the Roman Catholic 
religion to vacant sees within the kingdom, such interference of 
Government as may enable it to be satisfied of the loyalty of the 
person appointed is just, and ought to be agreed to. 

That to give this principle its full operation without infringing 
the discipline of the Roman Catholic Church, or diminishing the 
religious influence which prelates of that Church ought justly to 
possess over their respective flocks, the following regulations 
seem necessary : — 

In the vacancy of a see the clergy of the diocese to recommend, 
as usual, a candidate to the prelates of the ecclesiastical province, 
who elect him or any other they may think more worthy, by a 
majority of suffrages — in the case of equality of suffrages, the 
presiding metropolitan to have a casting vote. 

The candidates so elected to be presented by the president of 
the election to Government, which within one month after such 
presentation will transmit the name of the said candidate, if no 
objection be made against him, for appointment to the Holy See, 
or return the said name to the president of the election for such 
transmission as may be agreed upon. 

If Government have any proper objections against such candi- 
dates, the president of the election will be informed thereof, 
within one month after presentation, who, in that case, will 
convene the electois to the election of another candidate. 

Agreeably to the discipline of the Roman Catholic Church, 
these regulations can have no effect without the sanction of the 
Holy See, which sanction the Roman Catholic prelates of this 
kingdom shall, as soon as may be, use their endeavours to 

The prelates are satisfied that the nomination of the parish 


The Story of the Union. 

priests, with a certificate of their having taken the oath of 
allegiance, be certified to Government.*"' 

These resolutions were signed by Dr. Richard O'Reilly, 
Archbishop of Armagh; Dr. Troy, Dr. Edward Dillon, 
Archbishop of Tuam ; Dr. Thomas Bray, Archbishop of 
Cashel; Dr. P. J. Plimket, Bishop of Heath; Dr. F. 
Moylan, Bishop of Cork ; Dr. Daniel Delany, Bishop of 
Kildare ; Dr. Edmund French, Bishop of Elphin ; Dr. 
James Caulfield, Bishop of Ferns ; and by Dr. John Cruise, 
Bishop of Ardagh, while by a supplementary resolution Dr. 
O'Reilly, Dr. Troy, and Dr. Plunket were appointed to 
carry on such negotiations with Government as might be 
necessary to give them effect. 

Now we have already warned our readers against the folly 
of judging the actions of the men of one period by the 
standard of the opinions of another. In the history of 
the careers of the prelates whose names were signed to the 
resolutions just quoted, there is not to be found a single 
fact to their discredit as devoted defenders of their people, 
or as champions of the rights and liberties of the Holy See. 
The very least, therefore, that Irish Catholics, at all events, 
owe them is a kindly interpretation of their motives and 
their actions. The truth is that the bishops, like their 
people, were in an unparalleled dilemma, " they were 
placed in a most extraordinary and difficult position, to 
stand up for a Parliament that refused their emancipation, 
and oppose a Parliament that seemed to promise it. The 
lash over their head, the bayonet at their breast ; terror on 
the one hand, temptation on the other," f created a situa- 
tion without precedent in history. At such a time it may 

* Whatever may be thought nowadays of the wisdom of these resolutions 
—and there is hardly room for difference of opinion on the point— it is 
necessary to remember that they were signed by only ten of the Irish 

t Henry G rattan, junior, in his life of his father. Vol. v., p. 59. 

Told by its Plotters. 


well have seemed that it would be no slight gain for reli- 
gion to lift the Catholic hierarchy and priesthood of Ireland 
at one step to a place amongst the recognised institutions 
of the State, and to release their people from the horrible 
system of coercion and persecution under which their lives 
and properties were practically at the mercy of the Orange 
action. Before we hastily and unreservedly condemn the 
conduct of those who thought thus, let us also remember 
that, unwise though their resolutions were, the prelates 
who adopted them only accepted a tangible proposal made 
to them by the responsible Minister. We miy surely rest 
content in the happy knowledge that luckily for our Irish 
Church the proposals which were then made by the 
planners of the Union were never carried into effect. The 
fact that they had been made, however, explains the corre- 
spondence between Dr. Troy and Dr. Lennan, to which we 
have referred. The Archbishop unquestionably believed 
that through the passage of the Union he could secure 
enormous material benefit for his people, and much good 
for religion. No effort was spared by those who were 
plotting the projected measure to impress this idea on his 
mind, and it was in pursuance of this policy that the State 
provision referred to in the resolutions of the bishops was 
offered for themselves and for their clergy. 

Nothing, however, is better established than that the 
hearts and minds of the majority of the Catholic priesthood 
and laity of Ireland, as of their fellow-countrymen of all 
creeds, were sound upon the great question at issue. They 
were determinedly loyal to the ancient constitution of their 
country, and the machinations of Castlereagh were power- 
less to affect them.'-' Grat tan's son writes as follows on 

* Dean Cogan, in his " History of the Diocese of Meath," writing with 
reference to the resolutions of the ten bishops, says :— "It is just to the 
memory of the parish priests of Meath to record that at all the conferences 
of the diocese they indignantly expressed their dissent, and ultimately 

92 The Story of the Union. 

this subject : — " To the treaty of 1782 there were but two 
dissentient voices in the House of Commons — to that of 
the Union there were 120; in 1782, twenty-six counties 
petitioned for the independence of Ireland — twenty-eight 
counties now petitioned against its extinction, of which 
twenty were unanimous ; eight principal cities and towns, 
twelve municipal corporations, Dublin, and all the mercan- 
tile, the manufacturing, and trading extent of the kingdom. 
The petition of the county of Down contained 17,000 
signatures against the Union, and the counter-petition but 
415.* Only 7,000 individuals petitioned in favour of the 
Union, and 110,000 freeholders and 707,000 persons signed 
petitions against the measure. "f So far as the people could 
they protested against the act of treason which was being 

brought Dr. Plunket round to their views." What took place in Meath was 
only an example of what, in one form or another, took place in every diocese. 
The bishops themselves soon realised the extent of their error and spared no 
pains to counteract its evil effects. 

* Grattan junior notes that " The English landed proprietors and absentees 
petitioned in favour of the Union." 

t Life of Grattan, by his son. Vol. v., p. 50. 

Told by its Plotters. 



On" the 6th February, Beresford, senior, -wrote a letter to 
Lord Auckland, which is well worth being quoted, if only 
because of the fact that it shows us what the view was 
which was taken of their then recent defeat by one of the 
principal plotters of the Union. The letter ran as follows : — 

There were many extraordinary causes which went to aid in 
your defeat. The prejudices and fears of the city of Dublin were 
against you ; the public clamour was quadrupled by the bad 
treatment winch the yeomanry conceived they had received.* 
It does not signify going into the particulars ;f it is enough to 
say that they considered themselves ill-used, and that the loyal 
inhabitants thought themselves also treated in like manner, and, 
therefore, instead of endeavouring to keep peace and quiet, they 
either stood neuter or joined in the clamour. This I have from 
several citizens not ill-inclined to the measure. 

The relations of the Castle with individuals in the country was 
much against you.+ Where there was no sort of communication, 
either convivial or on business, with gentlemen, previous to bring- 
ing forward this measure, how could it be expected that there 
could be an advantageous commencement of negotiation in the 
first instance, and that, too, carried on by two men, neither of 
whom are well adapted for the purpose ? 

As to the boroughs, many of the proprietors are very poor, and 
have lived by the sale of them. Upon the late general election 
boroughs did not sell readily, and several of the proprietors 
were obliged to come in themselves. They cannot be expected 
to give up their interest for nothing. All these, and other cir- 
cumstances, have concurred to defeat you. If, however, Mr. Pitt 
sets out upon a fixed and settled plan, and is content to work 
quietly and slowly, you will succeed, for you will be gaining 
strength every day, while clamour will be subsiding; and if at the 
same time Lord Cornwallis could be prevailed on to take measures 

*The "bad treatment" referred to was Comwallis's condemnation of and 
refusal to permit the heinous atrocities which the yeomanry and Hessians 
had been in the habit of committing unchecked and unreproved. 

t The " particulars" would necessarily have included an account of Com- 
wallis's action in reference to the Wollaghan courtmartial. It is not won- 
derful that Beresford preferred not to give them. 

X This and the following sentence were intended as another attack on 
Cornwallis. The not dishonest old soldier would probably have scorned to 
hold "convivial" relations with the miserable scoundrels who were being 
bribed to betray their country. 


The Story of the Union. 

to put down the rebellious, who are now so insolent as constantly, 
in both play-houses and elsewhere, to clap for the memory of 
Lord Edward Fitzgerald, the Sheares, OliverBond, &c, while no 
notice is taken, which dispirits the. loyalists, increases clamour, 
and causes the timid to imagine that, if the Union took place, 
rebellion would break out, while they see no measures taken to 
meet the event. I do assure you it did influence several to vote 
against the measure, under the impression of the impropriety of 
the time for introducing the Union. 

I am better of my gout, and able to hobble about with one 
crutch. I expect my family in town to-morrow from the North. 
I have been living alone for a fortnight, a thing I am not much 
used to.* 

We have seen from the resolutions adopted by the ten 
bishops what the proposals were which had been made 
to the Catholics in order to induce them to support the 
proposed Union. Nevertheless, on the 9th February, 
Castlereagh deliberately wrote the Duke of Portland as 
follows : — 

I have not heard further of the proceedings of the Catholics 
since I wrote Mr. Elliot on the subject. Whatever degree of 
latitude may be given to the Lord Lieutenant in respect to con- 
necting any of their objects with the Union, it appears to me 
great caution should be used in holding out the expectation. 
Were it done with any appearance of eagerness on the part of 
Government, it would argue weakness, and bear too much the 
appearance of a bargain to serve the cause. I conceive the true 
policy is, by a steady resistance of their claims, so long as the 
countries remain separate, to make them feel that they can be 
carried only with us through a Union. The Speaker's temper 
will probably lead him to play a high Protestant game, which 
will operate favourably both with the Presbyterians and 

It is only when we remember the very different tone 
which Castlereagh was maintaining in his intercourse with 
Dr. Troy and other leading Catholics that we can pro- 
perly realise the atrocious baseness and wickedness of the 
policy here avowed. By a curious coincidence, on the very 
day on which this letter was written the Archbishop 

* Beresford's Correspondence. Vol. ii., pp. 209-11. 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii., p. 171. 

Told by its Plotters. 95 

wrote to Sir John C. Hippislj,* an English baronet who 

had espoused the Catholic cause, in terms which enable us 

to see not only how different must have been the demeanour 

of Castlereagh in his intercourse with him to that which he 

advised Ministers to adopt in his letter to Portland, but 

also how r accurately Dr. Troy gauged the real feeling of his 

people. The Archbishop wrote : — 

Most of my brethren (i.e., the bishops) lately assembled here 

are gone home Previous to the separation of my 

brethren certain preliminary points were agreed upon, and 
submitted by me to Lord Castlereagh, who expressed his approba- 
tion of them, and probably sent them to the Duke of Port- 
land. They are not to be made public until the business be con- 
cluded The very able speech of Mr. Pitt cannot fail 

to engage the opposers of Union with Great Britain to consider 
the question dispassionately, and determine many in its favour. 
The Catholics have prudently resolved to abstain from any re- 
solution or declaration thereon, although many of them, especially 
in this city, are an friendly to it.f 

Most of the correspondence which was passing at this 
period, and which has been preserved, had reference to sup- 
posed designs on the part of the United Irishmen to 
create renewed rebellion. Disturbances were taking place 
in various parts of the country, and the Government, with 
the support of all parties in the House, were pushing 
forward their Bill for the better suppression of the Re- 
bellion, and that granting an indemnity to the magistrates 
who had been guilty of outrages against the people. One 
letter, however, written by Castlereagh to TVickham, casts 
some light upon an almost forgotten incident in Irish 
history, and .brings us face to face with the cruel condi- 
tion of things then existing. Castlereagh wrote : - 

Dublin Castle, February 2Sth, 1799. 
Sir— I have laid before the Lord Lieutenant your letter of the 
2nd instant, together with that of the Charge d'AfTaires of His 

* Sir John Hippisly was member for Sudbury from November, 1790, to 
May, 1796, and again from November, 1802, to 1818. He had been an 
Indian official from 1781 to 178 7, during which brief period he shook the 
pagoda tree so effectually that he grew enormously rich. 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii., p. 172. 


The Story of the Union. 

Prussian Majesty, in which he desires to be informed whether 
the Government would agree to sending certain Irish Rebels to 
serve in the armies of the King, his master, aud what is the pro- 
bable number of those who are fit for this purpose.* 

I request you will inform his Grace the Duke of Portland that 
there are many persons fit for service now in confinement in this 
kingdom, whom it is intended to send abroad ; and that it ap- 
pears to the Lord Lieutenant, under all the circumstances, an 
eligible mode of disposing of them, to allow them to enter into the 
service of foreign princes not at war with his Majesty. His Grace 
will, therefore, be pleased to communicate this intention to 
Mr. Balan, and request to know from him what number of men, 
not exceeding five hundred, would be taken, what mode should 
be provided for their conveyance, and at what port they should 
be delivered. 

The men who are to be disposed of in this manner are for the 
most part rebelsf who have been convicted and sentenced to be 
transported, and from the present state of the country the 
number of these is likely to be increased ; but there are, besides, 
others who may probably choose to enter voluntarily into this 
service, to be released from their present confinement. — I have 
the honour, &c, 


Such was one of the ends which the Bill for the Better 
Suppression of the Rebellion was intended to serve. Dis- 
affected Irishmen were to be offered their choice of death 
by British halters at home or by French bullets on German 
battlefields. 1 hat some of them w T ere found willing to 
risk a soldier's fate was, perhaps, only what might have been 
expected of men of their race. Castlereagh's project, how- 

* M. Louis Balan, the Prussian Charge d 1 Affaires. 

t Amongst the "Irish rebels" sought to be disposed of in this way 
happened to be the grandfather of the present writer, who had been sen- 
tenced to death by a drumhead courtmartial for his share in the rebellion in 
his native county of Kerry. Through the exertions of his friend, the Pro- 
testant High Sheriff of Kerry, coupled with those of his fellow-county- 
man, Judge Day, to whose humanity many United Irishmen owed life and 
liberty, his sentence was revoked on his consenting to serve, as stated above, 
in the Prussian army. With some five hundred others similarly situated he 
was immured in New Geneva barracks, near Waterford, pending embarka- 
tion ; but before the plan could be put in practice^ other views prevailed, 
and the captives were, therefore, retained as semi-military prisoners for 
several years, being, however, treated, after some time, with much leniency, 
and even admitted to parole. The taking of a step likely to lead to the 
creation of a new Irish Brigade on the Continent was probably considered 
unwise. At any rate the idea was, as we have said, given up, and the King 
fo Prussia had to manage as best he could without the aid he asked for. 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iiL, pp. 70, 71. 

Told by its Plotters. 97 

ever, eventually came to nothing, although through no fault 
or clemency of his. 

On the 20th March, Cornwallis wrote to his old friend, 
Major-General Koss, once more. In this letter he said : — 
" We are, I trust, rather gaining ground in respect to the 
Union, but in the general indisposition and disaffection of 
the country, I cannot discover the smallest improvement. 
Our Parliamentary opposition is for the present at an 
end, and our Rebellion Bill, which was thought on your 
side of the water so strong a measure that we should not 
be able to carry it, went through the House of Commons 
with acclamation, and I am every day pressed to act upon 
it on a much larger scale than I approve."* On the 
27th of the same month, Castlereagh wrote the Duke of 
Portland a letter in which the following passage 
occurred : — 

As far as I have yet been informed of the proceedings at the 
several assizes, + they have been much less unfavourable on the 
question of Union than we had any right to expect. The ques- 
tion has been stirred in but few counties. The grand juries 
of Meath and Cavan are the only two that have come to 
resolutions against the measure. In Tipperary, which is a lead- 
ing county from its extent, the party favourable to the measure 
has prevailed. Upon the whole, I consider the general silence 
of the grand juries as a very favourable indication. It was not 
thought prudent to urge our friends in the several counties 
to a trial of their strength on the present occasion. Our arrange- 
ments may be better prepared before the autumn circuit.^ 

On the following day Henry Alexander, an Ulster 
member, wrote to Castlereagh, giving him an account of 
how people in the Northern counties regarded the pro- 
posed Union. He said : — 

Here (i.e., Londonderry) everything is more prosperous than 
could be expected by the most sanguine mind. Even this last 
week cloth and yarn have risen very considerably ; and I really 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., p. 77. 
t He is referring to the action of the grand juries. 

X Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii., pp. 240, 41. 


The Story of the Union. 

have not found a single man, in the day or two I have been here, 
who objects to a Union on any other principle than, thinking 
themselves so well off, that their situation is not improvable 
by any Legislature, however composed.* 

Meantime no exertion was being spared to facilitate the 
passage of the Union, It was industriously given out 
that every vested interest interfered with by the measure 
would be compensated* The owners of pocket boroughs 
which should be disfranchised were to be paid for the 
abolition of their right to select representatives, their 
unseated nominees were promised similar consolation, 
while those whose boroughs were not to be disfranchised 
were assured that, inasmuch as a seat in the united 
Parliament would be " more valuable" than one in an 
Irish, they were certain to find prices increase and their 
" property" grow more remunerative. In addition to this, 
no efforts and no promises were being withheld in order to 
influence public opinion. We have shown how the Press 
and junior Bar were being bribed. Already Castlereagh 
was estimating the cost of the projected Union at a million 
and a half of money. A very torrent of corruption was 
sweeping away all honesty from public life. The truth is 
that Castlereagh had reduced bribery to a fine art, and 
relied on its aid in every department of government. In 
an earlier chapter we quoted the documents which show 
his dealings with Leonard M'Nally, who was daily betray- 
ing his clients. He was in personal and direct communi- 
cation with the basest of the spies and informers who 

* The writer of these words, testifying as they do very clearly to the good 
results which a native Parliament had secured for the traders and manu- 
facturers of Ulster, was Henry Alexander, member for Derry, which place 
he represented from 1797 to June, 1802. He was Chairman of Ways and 
Means in the Irish House of Commons, and, on the passage of the Union, 
received a pension of .£500 a year, although he was shortly afterwards 
appointed to the corresponding position in the English Parliament. He 
was elected member for Newtownards in 1787, for Askeaton, 1790, and 
sat for Old Sarum from June, 1802, to November, 1806. Finally, he 
was appointed Colonial Secretary at the Cape of Good Hope, where he died. 
His residence in Dublin was in William-street. 

Told by its Plotters. 


infested the country. Here is a specimen of his letters 
at this period. It was addressed to Wickham : — 

Most Secret. 

Dublin Castle, April 2, 1799. 

Dear Sir— I have the honour of enclosing to you, for the 
information of his Grace the Duke of Portland, an abstract of 
some information received from Mr. M'Guichen,* who ia 
secretly employed, of Mr. Conway, f who was one of the Direc- 
tory at Cork, and of James Hughes,£ who was one of the chiefs 
of banditti that infested the Wicklow Mountains. 

From these documents, and the disturbances which have taken 
place in the country, it is evident that the State prisoners were 
actively employed in keeping up the rebellion when confined 
here,§ that a new Directory is formed or forming, and that the 
lower classes are kept in a state of readiness for insurrection. 

Unless, however, the French land in very great force, I do 
not apprehend that any very serious rising will be effected. 

The information given by Hughes with respect to his asso- 
ciates has enabled Government to take up already a great 
number of the most daring of his gang. — I have the honour to be, 


On the 11th April, an excited debate took place ip 
Committee of the House of Commons with reference to 

* This was another atrocious scoundrel, of precisely the same type as 
M'Nally. He was a solicitor in Belfast, and deep in the confidence 
of the United Irishmen, whose professional adviser he was. He was 
arrested, on a charge of high treason, on August 2, 1798. but liberated 
on bail on condition of serving as a spy. In this capacity he undoubtedly 
proved of much value to his employers, revealing to them all the secrets of 
his clients. In return he received a pension of £150 a year and a sum of 
£1,460 as a reward for the useful information he supplied. An enormous 
sum was for long paid for pensions to those who rendered service in 
connection with the Rebellion or the Union. So late as 1807 the Duke of 
Wellington, then Chief Secretary for Ireland, wrote :— " Croker has 
promised allegiance, and all that he requires is from £1,500 to 
£2,000 . . . but there are secret pensions arising out of Union 
engagements upon this fund."— Despatches. Vol. v., p. 72. 

t Conway was a watchmaker and jeweller in Cork, and a prominent 
member of the United Irish Society in that city. He voluntarily offered 
his services to Government as a spy. The information which he supplied 
was nearly as valuable as that given by M'Guichen. 

t This was an informer of the old and commoner kind, but not one 
whit baser than his more highly placed colleagues. One of "the gang" 
referred to in Castlereagh's letter was Myles Byrne, afterwards chef-de- 
bataillon in the French army and officer of the Legion of Honour. 

§ That there was any truth in this statement is in the highest degree 
improbable. The prisoners referred to were those who at this time had just 
been removed to Fort George in Scotland, and whose lives had been spared, 
and who had entered into wnat amounted to a treaty with Government. 

I! Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., pp. 85, 86. 

100 The Story of the Union. 

a proposed Regency Bill, which was afterwards dropped, 
the discussion being directed rather to the question of 
the Union than to that actually before Parliament. On 
the next day Cooke wrote to Wickham giving him an 
account of what had taken place. He said : — 

Lord Castlereagh spoke well. The Speaker did his best for 
four hours and a quarter, and had effect on his own friends ; he 
threw away the scabbard— talked of Mr. Pitt with contempt* 
— that he was the worst Minister Ireland ever knew— that his 
plan of Union was a silly project, an idle vision, &c, and he 
talked much of the power of Ireland to maintain herself indepen- 
dent, and went far on the doctrine of competency. 

The mind is, I think, much suspended on the subject. 
There is little passion, except among the Bar and the few inte- 
rested leaders in the Commons. The Protestants think, 
however, it will diminish their power, however it may secure 
their property. The Catholics think it will put an end to 
their ambitious hopes, however it may give them ease and 
equality. The rebels foresee in it their annihilation^ 

Notwithstanding all the efforts which were being made, 
no impression in favour of the Union was being effected 
on the popular mind. On the 14th April, Castlereagh 
wrote to Portland, evidently much dispirited, as to the 
progress of affairs, although he still pretended to believe 
that some way was being made in leading the people into 
consent to the sacrificing of their country's liberties. 
He wrote to Portland telling him that he 66 felt it his 
duty" to put him on his guard " against an impression 

*Cornwallis, writing on the 13th to Portland, describing the same 
debates, says :— " The Speaker rose, and in a speech of upwards of four 
hours, expressed his opinion on the subject of a Union with Great 
Britain. In the course of his speech he uttered much invective against 
Mr. Pitt, and was inflammatory in his statement of the power of Ireland 
to exist commercially independent of Great Britain. He was replied 
to with great ability by Lord Castlereagh. Mr. G. Ponsonby and Sir J. 
Parnell spoke with violence against the Union."— Memoirs, vol. iii.,p. 87. 
Castlereagh himself, writing to Portland, thus described Foster's speech : 
— " The Speaker, in the Committee, made his long-threatened speech. It 
was above four hours' duration, embracing an infinite variety of topics, 
and delivered with animation and ability. It was the speech of an able 
partisan in a bad cause, everything sacrificed to popular impression ; but 
well-calculated to impress every class of men with aversion to the measure 
of Union."— Correspondence. Vol. ii., p. 270. 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. ii., pp. 86, 87. 

Told by its Plotters. 


wliich might lead to disappointment — namely, as to the 
degree in which the public sentiment has undergone a 
change. The clamour has certainly subsided and the 
measure has more open advocates who were before silent j 
but I cannot perceive either in or out of Parliament that 
impression which can lead me to form any opinion of when 
the measure may be carried." He went on, in even a more 
doleful strain, as follows : — 

Within the House some persons who were not decided on a 
late occasion are now more explicit, but I cannot as yet reckon 
on many declared converts. I only mention the subject in this 
point of view, and think it of importance to state that, 
although the difficulties which stand in our way may yield 
without any very considerable delay, yet we must neither be 
dispirited nor disappointed if the resistance should prove obsti- 
nate, and the Opposition be kept together to a degree which 
mayrender the accomplishment of the measure in the next session 
extremely problematical.* 

On the loth April, Cornwallis wrote a private letter to 

his friend Ross, in which he vigorously defended himself 

against the imputation of weakness, which the Orangemen 

were endeavouring to fix upon him, The Lord Lieutenant 

wa3 half offended with his old comrade. He said : " You 

write as if you really believed that there was any foundation 

for all the lies and nonsensical clamour about my lenity. On 

my arrival in this country I put a stop to the burning of 

houses and murder of the inhabitants by the yeomen or 

any other persons who delighted in that amusement, to 

the flogging for the purpose of extorting confession, and 

to the free-quarters, which comprehended universal rape 

and robbery throughout the whole country/'f This was 

the head and front of Cornwallis's offending, because, in 

truth, he had not been any way extravagantly lenient. 

On the 6th March, Castlereagh had written to Wickham, 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Yol. ii., dd. 
74, 75. 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Yol. iii., p. 89. 


The Story of the Union. 

telling him that, exclusive of all persons tried at the 
assizes, the Lord Lieutenant had decided personally 
upon 400 cases; that out of 131 condemned to death, 81 
had been executed ; and that 418 persons had been 
transported or banished in pursuance of the sentences of 
courts-martial since Cornwallis had arrived in Ireland.* 
This was the " leniency " which displeased the ruling 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., p. 90. 
These were some of the proceedings which were necessary in order to 
reduce the spirit of the country sufficiently to render the Union possible. 
The Duke of Wellington, writing in 1810 from the seat of war in the 
Peninsula, said : — " The Ministers are not aware of the great and general 
detestation of the Union." Again — " They forget the political situation of 
Ireland, the detestation of the whole people of the connection, and particu- 
larly of the Union, and all the measures which have been the consequences 
of it."— Wellington's Despatches. Vol. vi., p. 588. The moment the people 
recovered breath, as it were, they gave clear indication of their feeling 
towards the iniquitous measure which had been forced on them. 

Told by its Plotters. 



On the 4th May, 1799, Cornwallis wrote to Portland in 
view of the approaching close of the session, sending him a 
draft of the speech which he intended to deliver from the 
Throne in order that, as he put it, the latter might " have 
full time to model that part of it that referred to the 
Union." Cornwallis assured his colleague that in compos- 
ing the speech he had " endeavoured to mark the utmost 
determination which appeared compatible with the respect 
due to the decision of the Commons."* More than a fort- 
night later, on the 20th May, Cornwallis wrote another of 
the outspoken confidential letters which he so often ad 
dressed to his old comrade Ross. In this he said : — 

The political jobbing of this country gets the better of me : it 
has ever been the wish of my life to avoid all this dirty busi- 
ness, and I am now involved in it beyond all bearing, and am 
consequently more wretched than ever. I trust that I shall 
live to get out of this most cursed of all situations, and most re- 
pugnant to my feelings. How I long to kick those whom my 
public duty obliges me to court ! If I did not hope ro get out of 
this country, I should most earnestly pray for immediate death. f 

This letter makes plain the absolute .oathing and con- 
tempt with which Cornwallis regarded the group 
abominable traitors with whom he was compelled, owing to 
the nature of his office, to hold friendly intercourse. Some 
of these days, when the letter-books of later English 
Viceroys are opened to historical students, we are much 
mistaken if similar statements of the disgust inspired in 
the minds of honest gentlemen by the corruption which is 
the basis of the Castle system are not made apparent. 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereash. Vol. ii, p. 298. 
t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. VoL in., pp. 100, L 

104 The Story of the Union. 

Within our own time at least one English official has been 
heard to describe the centre of Irish Government as no 
place for an honest man. What it was in 1799 it is in 

On the 23rd May, Portland returned the suggested Speech 
from the Throne to Cornwallis, amended so as to accord 
exactly with the Ministerial declarations in England. His 
letter was crossed in transmission by a despatch which the 
Lord Lieutenant forwarded on the 24th, in which he set 
out his mtention to remove from office other officials, in 
addition to those who, like Sir John Parnell, had already 
been dismissed. The letter went on : 

There is an opposition in Parliament to the measure of Union 
formidable in character and talents. Their numbers, though they 
have not proved equal to shake the Government, have for the 
present rendered the prosecution of the measure in Parliament 
impracticable. The removals in contemplation cannot fail to 
consolidate their party and to render their further exertions 
proportionately animated. An entire forbearance on the part 
of Government will probably be received rather as a mark of 
weakness than of conciliation, and, perhaps, deprive us of friends 
rather than procure converts. With the concurrence and advice 
of the King's confidential servants, I am prepared to employ 
every exertion in my power to bring it to a successful issue e 

In other words, every honest and patriotic man was to 
be dismissed from the public service. Cornwallis con- 
tinued : — 

After having gone so far, and the principle in question having, 
in fact, been already acted upon, I see no other alternative but 
to pursue the most decided line of conduct. Hesitation may 
dissolve much of our present strength, which may not, perhaps, 
be composed of materials to resist the impression which might be 
created by an appearance of timidity on the part of Government.* 

On the 5th June the Earl of Altamont wrote to the 
Castlef describing the state of things in Mayo. An activo 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol iii., p. 101. 
t The letter bears no definite address, but it ,as evidently sent either 
to Castlereagh or Wickham. 

Told by its Plotters. 105 

and unscrupulous advocate of the Union, as well as a 
rancorous bigot, his letter is valuable as showing what 
were the real feelings of the Catholics of that and the 
adjoining counties. The Earl said : - • 

In regard to the Union, I have got the names of most of the 
property of Mayo to it. Lord Lucan's friends have been zealou9 
in promoting it ; Lord Tyrawley's have been as yet neutral, the 
O'Donnells alone opposing ; but they have not yet been able to 
influence one man of £100 a year that I can trace.* If the Roman 
Catholics stand forward (i.e., in support of the measure) it will 
be unwillingly ; they are keeping back decidedly, but many 
will be influenced . . . This day I have sent round to ail 
the Catholics of property in the country. I may be mistaken, 
but, in my judgment, the wish of most of them would be to stand 
neuter, or, perhaps, if they had any countenance, to oppose it — 
that is the fact.f 

Cornwallis was daily growing more and more disgusted 
with the work he was compelled to undertake and the horde 
of rapacious traitors with whom he was being brought in 
contact. On the 8th June he wrote once more to Ross, his 
never-failing confidant : — 

My occupation is now of the most unpleasant nature, negotiat- 
ing and jobbing with the most corrupt people under heaven. I 
despise and hate myself every hour for engaging in such dirty 
work, t 

Sordid as well as dirty work it was into which the old 
soldier had been inveigled. Eleven days later, on the 19th, 
he wrote again to Ross as follows : — 

Lord Downshire holds at best a very unsatisfactory language, 
and a man who has for many years exacted and enjoyed the exclu- 
sive patronage of the Crown in the provinces of the North must 
be a formidable enemy. To court a proud, ill-tempered, violent 
fellow, raised to any importance by the weakness of former 
Governments, and who, if he had the power, would in a week 

* In these words, Altamont, as the context shows, was referring only to 
the Protestant portion of the community. 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii. , p. 328. 
The writer of this letter was John Denis, third Earl of Altamont. He was 
created Marquis of Sligo by way of reward for his pro-Union efforts, as 
well as Knight of St. Patrick. He was born June 11, 1756, and died 
January 2, 1809. His Dublin residence was in Gloucester-street. 

t Memoirs and Correpondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. hi., p. 102. 

106 The Story of the Union. 

drive this wretched country again into rebellion, is a pill almost 
too bitter for me to swallow. If Lord D. declares against us many 
of our recruits will insist on higher bounty. Nothing but a 
conviction that an Union is absolutely necessary for the safety 
of the British empire could make me endure the shocking task 
which is imposed on me. * 

On the 22nd June, Cornwallis wrote to Portland, giving 
him a review of the entire political situation. In this letter 
he was again compelled to refer to Downshire, whose 
language he stated he was " sorry to observe was more 
hostile" than it had been, extending even " to the principle 
of the measure, as well as to the unfitness of the season 
for its execution," Cornwallis went on s- 

Without troubling your Grace with names, which cannot at 
present be mentioned without considerable explanations, I think 
I can with safety state that the supporters of a Union in the 
Commons have increased from 149, at which number they 
were stated in my last despatch, to 165. The increase is 
partly acquired from the numbers stated as against, partly from 
the class reckoned as doubtful. 

How much afraid the promoters of the Union were of 
their measure being brought fairly under the notice or 
decision of the people is well attested by this letter, which 
continued : — 

I have most earnestly recommended it to the friends of Govern- 
ment to exert themselves during the summer in their several 
counties, and have urged them, without rislcing popular meetings, 
to obtain declarations similar to those of Cork and Gal way in 
favour of the measure. 

Efforts have been more than once made to represent 
these so-called " declarations " as affording evidence of the 
real feelings of the inhabitants of the counties from 
which they ostensibly emanated, but the real truth is, as 
this letter shows very conclusively, that they were simply 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., pp. 103, 4. 
Downshire eventually voted against the Union, being in consequence 
dismissed from all his honorary appointments. He was a fierce bigot and 
an extreme Orangeman. 

Told by its Plotters. 107 

documents handed about stealthily amongst the Unionist 
rings in the various districts. Cornwallis proceeded : -• 

The temper of Dublin remains strongly adverse, but not in 
the degree it did. Some of the commercial body have altered 
their sentiments. Dublin is not without materials for a counter- 
party, which I should have sanguine hope of collecting, if my 
endeavours to produce a schism in the Corporation should prove 

No wonder Cornwallis styled this kind of thing " dirty 
work." A few days later he had to write Portland again, 
and his letter deserves to be reproduced, if only because 
of the evidence which it affords of the fact that Lord Ken- 
mare, like nearly everyone else who aided in the carrying 
out of the Union plot, had covenanted for the due payment 
of a bribe. The Viceroy's letter is only too clear and 
distinct; it deprives the Union party of the least right to 
build any argument adverse to Catholic patriotism on the 
conduct of Lord Kenmare. The Viceroy wrote : — 


Dublin Castle, June 28th, 1799. 
My Dear Lord — I have received your Grace's letter dated 
the 24th inst., respecting Sir Morton Eden's peerage, f and have 
given orders to have the purport of your wishes on this subject 
carried into immediate effect. Amongst the many engagements 
which I have been obliged to contract in the event of the 
success of the measure of the Legislative Union, I have 
promised to use my utmost influence to obtain an earldom for 
Lord Kenmare, and I trust, if he should speak on the subject 
to your Grace, that you will encourage him in the hopes of suc- 
ceeding in his request, which 1 do not think unreasonable, and 
which would, in my opinion, serve his Majesty's interests in 
this kingdom. — I have, &c, 

Cornwallis. t 

This gives us the true measure of the value of Lord 
Kenmare's support of the Union. The man was a corrupt 
trafficker with those who were bent on destroying the 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii.. pp. 336-41. 
The italics in the extracts from the letter are ours. 

t This was an Englishman who, like many others, was foisted off on 
the Irish peerage because George ELL objected to enlarge the British. 

X Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. VoL iii., pp. 109, 10. 

108 The Story of the Union. 

ancient constitution of the realm of which he was a peer. 
In all probability the only Catholics of note who supported 
the projected Union, uninfluenced by what can only be 
styled corrupt motives, were the prelates. Mistaken 
enough their action no doubt was, shortsighted, and sadly 
unwise, as we judge now ; but still it was, as might have 
been expected, free from the imputation of having been pro- 
duced by sordid and discreditable personal aims and 
motiveSc At the period with which we are dealing, Dr. 
Troy was exerting himself to the uttermost to facilitate the 
passage of the measure which was being prepared by 
Government. With this object in view, and by request of 
Lord Castlereagh, he wrote to Dr Bray, Archbishop of 
Cashel, asking him to do what he could in his diocese 
a to procure the signatures of respectable Catholics to an 
address in favour of a Legislative Union/' The reply of this 
prelate was practically a refusal to do what the Archbishop 
of Dublin requested, although he, indeed, avowed that " as 
far as he understood the measure" he was personally in 
favour of its adoption,.* It is interesting and instructive 
to compare with his Grace's letter another which still exists 
to show the motives which induced the Protestant Arch- 
bishop of Cashel to support the same measure. The two 
documents show us clearly enough the difference between 
the two men. On the 8th July, Cornwallis wrote to Port- 
land as follows ; his letter shows very clearly the induce- 

* Dr. Bray wrote to Dr. Troy as follows :— "I need not observe to you, 
who know so well the dispositions of our respectable Catholics, what little 
influence we have over them in political matters, and with what reserve 
and secrecy we should interfere on the present occasion, in order to ensure 
any degree of success to it, and to avoid censure If we act in any ostensible 
capacity in the business of Union, either by a personal signature to an ad- 
dress in favour of it, or otherwise, in my humble opinion, instead of serving 
the cause, we may injure it. As far as I understand the measure, it will be 
productive of substantial benefits to both countries, and therefore, it meets 
my good wishes, and shall have the whole of my little mite of assistance."— 
Castlereagh's Memoirs. Vol ii., p. 345. No one can read this letter without 
perceiving that it came from the hand of an honest man, sincerely desirous 
of doing, and only doing, what he believed to be for the good of Ireland. 
There is no taint of corruption on this letter. 

Told by its Plotters. 


merit which prevailed with the unscrupulous and arrogant 
Agar, and secured his vote and influence for the Union : — 


Dublin Castle, July 8th, 1799. 
My Lord— ... It was privately intimated to me that 
the sentiments of the Archbishop of Cashel were less unfriendly 
to the Union than they had been, on which I took an oppor- 
tunity of conversing with his Grace on the subject, and after 
discussing some preliminary topics respecting the representation 
of the spiritual Lords and the probable vacancy of the See of 
Dublin, he declared his great unwillingness at all times to oppose 
the measures of Government, and especially on a point in which 
his Majesty's feelings were so much interested, to whom he pro- 
fessed the highest sense of gratitude and the most perfect devo- 
tion, and concluded by a cordial declaration of friendship. The 
Archbishop is looked upon in this country as a wise and able 
politician, and I consider the acquisition of his support as an 
object of no small importance. — I have the honour to be, &c, 


In due course Agar obtained the Archbishopric of 
Dublin, which was at once the price and proof of his 

We have already shown what kind of thing the so-called 
" declarations " from counties in favour of the Union were 
and what little real value they possessed. Strenuous efforts 
were, however, being made to secure as many signatures 
as possible. On the 20th July, Castlereagh wrote to 
Portland, giving him an account of some gains in this way 
and also testifying to the partial success of the plot referred 
to in Cornwallis's letter of the 22nd June, which we have 
just quoted, to bring about "a schism " in the Dublin 
Corporation. He wrote : 

Dublin Castle, July 20th, 1799. 
My Lord— Although we cannot as yet assert that we have 
divided the Corporation of Dublin on the question of Union, yet 
I think the proceedings of yesterday prove that there is a hesita- 
tion in that body to act up to their former declarations, which 
announces a change of sentiment as approaching, and which, I 
trust, may be improved upon. A motion was agreed to in the 

Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., p. 114. 


The Story of the Union. 

Commons* that the freedom of the city should be presented to 
Mr. Saurin for his manly resistance of a Legislative Union with 
Great Britain, and that the same should be presented by the 
Mayor and Corporation with their regalia, &c. This resolution 
being sent up to the Board of Aldermen, Alderman Alexanderf 
(on whose influence we have principally relied in making an 
impression) stated his readiness to give the freedom of the city to 
Mr. Saurin, as a very deserving loyal citizen, but that he must 
object to its being granted on the ground of his opposition to the 
Union, as well as to its being presented with any unusual marks 
of respect. His motion, to confine it to a simple vote of freedom, 
was carried without a division. I understand he had a majority 
of two at the Board. This vote being sent down, the Commons 
sent up another resolution, earnestly requesting that the freedom, 
at least, should be presented with a suitable address, which appli- 
cation was also negatived. Not thinking it prudent to try their 
strength on the present occasion any further, several of Alderman 
Alexander's friends withdrew, after which several resolutions 
against the measure were sent up, which were also rejected, but 
to which the Board (the opposite party being more numerous) sent 
down a reply, desiring not to be understood as having relin- 
quished their former sentiments. Upon the whole, your Grace 
will, I am persuaded, be of opinion that, when contrasted with 
the warmth of their former proceedings, this change is impor- 
tant, and that it is material even to have operated so far on the 
most hostile corporate body in the kingdom. X 

It was the same story all over the country ; intrigue, 
bribery, intimidation were universal. On the 21st July, 
Cornwallis wrote to Ross, telling him that he was "pre- 
paring to set out on a tour for three weeks to the South, 
for the purpose of obtaining declarations, &Ce, in favour of 
the Union. "§ This tour was of somewhat less value than 

* The Common Councilmen and Aldermen sat separately, and the latter 
possessed what was practically a right of veto over the proceedings of the 
former assembly. 

t The Aldermen of Dublin at this period were :— John Eose, William- 
street; Philip Crampton, Grafton-street ; Sir Thomas Blackall, Dorset- 
street; "Willoughby Ligntburne, Dawson-street ; Henry Hart, Blackall- 
street ; Thomas Emerson, Usher's- Island ; Henry Bevan, Linenhall-street ; 
William Dunn, Dawson-street ; Patrick Boyd, Joseph Lynam, Bachelor's 
Walk; James Hamilton, Dominick-street ; Nathaniel Warren, William- 
street ; Thomas Greene, James's-street ; James Horan, Meath-sfcreet; James 
Shiel, Bride-street ; William Alexander, Sackville-street ; George Sutton, 
Lower Ormond-quay ; William J ames, Bride-street ; Henry Howison, 
Jervis-street ; Henry Gore Sankey, Clare-street ; Eichard Moncrieffe, Capel- 
street ; Eobert Smith, North Great George 's-street ; John Caiieton, Eustace- 
street ; William Worthington, Island-bridge. 

X Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii., pp. 343, 4 . 

§ Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. hi., p. 118. 

Told by Us Plotters. Ill 

one of Lord Zetland's would be to-day, as a test of the 
leal feeling of the people of Ireland on any political 
subject. Nevertheless, it was undertaken, and its orga- 
nisers and promoters professed to be satisfied with its 
results. Bogus meetings, and still more bogus " declara- 
tions" were manufactured, and either presented to the 
Lord Lieutenant, or duly forwarded to Dublin. Cornwallis 
himself, to his discredit be it recorded, did not disdain to 
play a part in the perpetration of an atrocious and 
abominable fraud. He wrote to Agar : — 

Castlemartyr, August 2, 1799. 
My Dear Lord — I find that our friends in the county of 
Tipperary are decidedly of opinion that a county meeting 
should be called, and are under no apprehension about the success 
of the measure. 

I have, therefore, only to suggest that your Grace will allow 
your respectable name to be subscribed to the requisition. — I 
have the honour to be, &c, 


A mounted trooper carried this letter the full fifty 
miles which intervened between Castlemartyr and Cashel. 
With the promptitude and servility of one greedy to earn a 
proferred bribe, Agar sent his answer on the night of 
the day on which he received the Viceroy's missive. It 
was not wonderful that he had to find other messenger 
to travel back with his answer than Cornwallis's orderly. 
He wrote thus : — 

Cashel, Friday Night, August 2, 1799. 
My Lord— At eight o'clock this night I received a letter 
from the High Sheriff of the county of Tipperary, Mr. Hutchin- 
son, enclosing a requisition for calling a meeting of this county 
for the purpose of considering the subject of an Union, to which 
I gave the enclosed answer No. 1, not then knowing your Excel- 
lency's final determination on that subject. But at a quarter- 
past nine o'clock this night, about an hour after the High 
Sheriff's messenger had taken my answer, I had the honour of 
receiving your Excellency's letter from Castlemartyr dated this 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., p. 120. 

112 The Story of the Union. 

day, in consequence of which I have written a second letter to 
the High Sheriff, of which I take the liberty of enclosing a 
copy to your Excellency, being numbered 2, and written on the 
same sheet of paper as the copy of my first answer. This 
second letter I shall send to the High Sheriff very early to-morrow 
morning. — I have, etc., 

C. Cashed. 

P.S.— The dragoon who brought your Excellency's letter will 
set out from hence early to-morrow morning.* 

Cornwallis had scarcely returned from his pro-Union 
campaign through the Southern counties when he was nearly- 
shot by one of his own sentries in the Castle Yard. The 
soldier challenged him as he passed, and receiving no reply 
from the Viceroy, immediately discharged his firelock, the 
bullet passing close by the head of Cornwallis. The friends 
of the Union immediately gave out that the vigilant 
sentinel was an United Irishman in disguise, but there 
does not appear to have been a particle of evidence to 
sustain the statement. 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. hi., p. 120. 

Told by its Plotters. 



A few days after the incident last described, Cornwallis 
wrote as follows to the Duke of Portland : — 

Dublin Castle, August 13th, 1799. 
My Lord— I returned to town on Friday from my Southern 
tour, and am happy to have it in my power to convey to your 
Grace the most satisfactory accounts of that part of the kingdom, 
as well in point of tranquillity as in general good disposition 
towards the Government and cordial approbation of the measure 
of Union. 

This sounded well enough, but the letter proceeded :— 

. . . Your Grace is so well acquainted with the constitution 
of the assembly in which this question is to be prosecuted, and 
must be aware how anxiously personal objects will be con- 
nected with this measure .... that distiuct interests are 
there to be encountered which will require all the exertions and 
all the means of Government to overcome.* 

Cornwallis concluded by adding that Castlereagh would 
" state in detail " the measures to be adopted. The 
simple word ' 'Bribery " would have fully described them. 

Only one day later Cornwallis wrote again to Portland. 
He was evidently fearful lest any of those who had aided 
him during his tour should have any reason to suspect that 
he was reticent in acknowledging their services. His letter 
was as follows : — 

Dublin Castle, August 14th, 1799. 
My Deak Lord — . . . It is due to the principal friends 
of Government, by whom I was received in my late tour, to state 
to your Grace that their exertions have been not less zealous 
than effectual in recommending the measure of Union to the 
public favour. 

Then he went on to praise the conduct of Lords 
Ormonde and Clifden in Kilkenny, of Lord Waterford and 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii. , pp. 1 2 1 , 2 2. 


114 The Story of the Union. 

Mr. Alcock in Waterford, of Lord Shannon and Lord Boyle 
in Cork, of Lord Clare and Lord Glentworth in Limerick, 
omitting not one of his aiders.* 

Ten days further on, on the 24th, Cornwallis had to 
write to Portland once more, this time introducing Lord 
Fingal. The letter is interesting and important for two 
reasons ; first, because it makes clear how well the Viceroy 
had gauged the character of Fingal, and, secondly, because 
it contains a candid statement as to the position main- 
tained by the Catholics of Dublin relative to the Union. 
Cornwallis's letter was as follows : — 


Dublin Castle, August 24th, 1799. 
My Dear Lord. — Lord Fingal is going for some weeks to 
England, and I have taken the liberty of desiring him to wait 
upon your Grace. He is a man of an excellent character, and 
perfectly well disposed towards Government, hut he has not a 
sufficient energy of mind to take in any material degree a leading 
part in the councils of the principal Catholics in Dublin and its 
neighbourhood, from whom J am afraid little more is to be 
expected than neutrality on the question of Union. — I have, &c, 

Cornwallis. $ 

A little before this Beresford had been called over to 
England in order that he might be consulted relative to 
the adoption of a scheme for the settlement of the fiscal and 
financial relations of the two countries under the projected 
Union. He was, as usual, ill with the gout, and was com 
pelled to go to Buxton, from whence he wrote as 
follows : — 

Buxton Wells, 19th August, 1799. 
My Dear AtjoklAND— I arrived here on Saturday, in such 
weather as I never before saw, and it has not since ceased raining. 
T. wrote to you foom Dublin, and told you that I was ordered 
here. T. am mucli better this day, and I expect to drink the 
\\ r aters in two or three days. I sent you my pamphlet ; I have 
mii put my name to it, nor do I intend to do so. 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., pp. 124, 25. 
1 Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., pp. 127, 8. 

Told by its Plotters. 


I give you the history of it, which is as follows : — 
Cooke wrote to rae that he was about a pamphlet, in answer to 
many written at him, and that he intended to include the 
Speaker's, and he begged me to assist him in the trade part. I 
accordingly wrote what you now see, and sent it up to him to 
make a portion of his pamphlet. His Excellency did not like 
Cooke's production, as there were some imprudences in it, and 
he stopped the publication, but they took my part, exactly as I 
sent it to Cooke, and printed it ; but no one gave himself the 
trouble of attending to the press. T have made some correc- 
tions and additions, and send you a copy. If you think it worth 
while j r ou may send for Stockdale and" let him print it. Pray 
correct anything you think wrong. 

I mean to stay here as long as I can, so do not let me be 
called away until necessary, Write to me on the subject of what 
we are to do, and particularly your ideas upon the proportionate 
quantum of our contribution to the general fund. —Ever yours, 

J. Beresford.* 

On the 26th, Castlereagh wrote gushingly to Beresford 
as follows : — 

Dublin, August 26th, 1799. 
My Dear Mr. Beresford— I heard yesterday that you were 
better, but I wish to be assured of it from yourself. The Lord 
Lieutenant has written to know at what time Ministers would 
wish us to be in London. Let me know what your wishes would 
be if there was no business in question, aud I may be able to pre- 
vail on them to conform to what your health so much requires ; 
we go on here tolerably well. The anti-Unionists have been 
impudent enough to call the county of Galway, in hopes of con- 
verting Trench, as they have done the members for Tipperary. 
Lord Downshire talks as hostilely as possible, and feels, I am 
persuaded, more so, but what he will do depends, I rather think, 
on what appears feasible at the moment, 

A despatch this moment from England says either the middle 
or end of month is the same to them— you, my dear sir, must 
regulate it entirely by your own feelings. . . . . — Ever, 
my dear sir, most sincerely yours, 

Castlereagh. t 
On August 30th, Lord Auckland wrote to Beresford 
telling him that he would let him have due notice of the 
date fixed on by Pitt and Cornwallis for the forthcoming 

§ Memoirs and Correspondence of the Right Hon. John Beresford. Vol. 

ii., pp. 221, 2. * j tt i 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of the Right Hon. John Beresford. vol 
ii, pp. 224-6. 


The Story of the Union. 

conference relative to the terms of Union. Accordingly, 
Castlereagh, a very few days later, wrote as follows : — 

Phoenix Park, September 2nd, 1799. 
My Dear Mr. Bekesfokd— The Duke of Portland being 
desirous that some time should be fixed for our meeting in 
London, Lord Cornwallis has fixed the 25th of this month, 
trusting that the interval will afford you as much Buxton 
water as is usually taken without a discontinuance. I shall leave 
this about the 15th, meaning to call on Lord Hertford in my 
way. The Union continues to work favourably in the public 
mind, and we have got some recruits since you left us. If our 
people are all true we are strong enough ; but, as this may not 
prove the case, we shall leave nothing undone to increase our 
force. . . . — Ever, my dear sir, most faithfully yours, 


Nothing was being left 6C undone" to increase the number 
of the supporters of Government. The wildest rumours 
were daily put in circulation in the effort to persuade 
the landed and moneyed classes, as well as all lovers of 
peace and order of every class, that a new rebellion was 
meditated and a fresh uprising of the peasantry was being 
plotted. On the 9th September, the Marquis of Waterford 
wrote Castlereagh. His letter speaks volumes as to the 
state of terror prevailing amongst the nobility and gentry. 
In it he said : — 

I do not think you are aware of the situation of the country, 
and that you have put the yeomanry off permanent pay at the 
moment it is in the most dangerous situation since the rebellion. 
To me it is evident that the anti-Unionists co operate with the 
ill-affected in the country in drawing every power against 
Union, and in endeavouring to draw the whole weight to 
rise and murder all the friends of Union. At first, I laughed 
at the reports I heard ; but, from the reports I heard, and the 
information I have had, I am decided that the entire iower 
class are on the point to rise and murder. From the accounts t 
gave Lord Cornwallis, I flattered myself his Excellency would 
have authorised me to re-establish the yeomanry on pay. m mo 
present alarm, I know it will be unwise and unpopular not to da 
it, and that I shall in a few days be drove to send Lady W. ana 
my girls to Dublin, unless it is fully done. I could not have 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of the Bight Hon. John Beresford. YoJ. 
i;. 4 p. 227. 

Told by its Plotters. 117 

conceived that nearly all tbe under-tenants on my own estate are 
in league to murder, burn, and destroy this house, property, and 
the entire residence. I intreat the yeomanry again.* 

Even the composition of this ignorantly and hysterically 
worded letter is sufficient to show the class of man the 
writer was. Brave old Cornwallis must have laughed at 
the cool request of the noble writer for a full embodiment 
of the yeomanry in order to save him from being " drove n 
to send Lady Waterford and the "girls" to Dublin. 

While the so-called upper classes were being terrorised 
in one way the lower were being intimidated in another. 
On the 26th September, Cornwallis wrote to Castlereagb, 
who was then in London : — ■ 

There is certainly mischief working in various parts of the 
country, and, Marsden thinks, in Dublin and its vicinity. In 
the meantime, the same wretched business of courtsmartial, 
hanging, transporting, &c., attended by all the dismal scenes of 
wives, sisters, fathers kneeling and crying, is going on as usual, 
-and holds out a comfortable prospect for a man of any feeling. f 

The Viceroy's letter enables us to form an idea of the 
terrible sadness of some of the scenes which must have 
often been witnessed in Dublin Castle at this period. 

On the 12th October, Dr. Troy wrote a letter to Mr. 
Robert Marshall, Inspector-General of Exports and Imports, 
which is too important not to be quoted from at consider- 
able length. It shows clearly what the actual condition of 
the country was at this time, and the gross cruelty and 
terrorism which still prevailed. The Archbishop said : — 

In consequence of my conversations with Lord Castlereagb 
and Colonel Littlehales, about the intended Proclamation of 
Council against chapel-burners, &c, in the county of Wexford, I 
assured Dr. Caulfieldi it would be issued. It has not yet 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. VoL ii., pp. 394, 5. 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., p. 135. 

X The Bishop of Ferns. This and succeeding paragraphs of Dr. Troy's 
letter show plainly that Castlereagh, while making pretence to the Arch- 
bishop of desire to put an end to outrage and persecution, was in reality 
allowing full licence to the Orange faction in their warfare against the 
Catholic population. 


The Story of the Union. 

appeared, nor can it now, until the return of his Excellency from 
the North.* On inquiry at the Council Office, Mr. M'Kay 
informed me that the affidavits had been given to the Attorney- 
General, who is in the county Tipperary. I am disappointed and 
concerned at this unforeseen delay, not only because the Pro- 
clamation was expected in the country with anxiety, but prin- 
cipally because the disaffected avail themselves of the occasion to 
impose on the ignorant, by artfully insinuating that Government 
is indifferent about them and their chapels, and leaves them 
defenceless against the excesses of a party peculiarly hostile to 
Catholics in that county.f 

The principle of reprobation and detestation of such outrages 
has been, as Lord Castlereagh observed to me,+ established by 
Government in the Proclamation issued against those who burned 
Kilmurry Chapel, in the county of Wicklow ; but, as his lordship- 
added, it is necessary likewise to notice in a particular manner 
similar excesses in the county Wexford. § I shall urge this at 
his Excellency's return hither, and hope Lord Castlereagh wilL 
assist me. I beg my best compliments and respects to his Lord- 

You will observe, by our public papers, that the question of 
Union is daily gaining ground. The Catholics are coming 
forward in different parts in favour of the measure, which the 
generality of them consider as their only protection against a 
faction seemingly intent on their defamation and destruction. I 
do not despair of an Address from the Catholics of this city,, 
who, from local and other circumstances, have hitherto been 
silent, before the meeting of Parliament. || 

Excesses are daily committing in the county Wexford and in 
the upper parts of the county Wicklow. Within the last and 

* His Excellency was at this time engaged in a pro-Union propaganda in 
the Northern counties similar to that just concluded in the South. 

t A glimmer of light seems here to have been breaking on the Arch- 
bishop's vision. 

% This is very good. It required a man possessing Castlereagh's wonderful 
audacity to assure the good Archbishop that "the principle "of "reproba- 
tion of outrage 1 ' had been already "established," while outrage was pro- 
ceeding unchecked. No one can doubt that, if the Chief Secretary had been 
at all in earnest, he would have hanged half a dozen of the Orange ruffians, 
who were creating an unexampled terrorism. It was most certainly no 
extreme regard for human life which prevented his doing so. 

§ It is almost inconceivable how Dr. Troy suffered himself to be 
humbugged by this arrant nonsense ; but that he was innocent enough 
to accept Castlereagh's glib assurances in perfect good faith is incon- 
testable. The naive manner in which he repeats the Chief Secretary's 
humbugging phrases in the letter quoted above fully proves this. 

II The well-known meeting of Catholic citizens held on the 13th 
January, 1800, at which O'Connell delivered his maiden speech against 
the Union, was yet to be held, but it would be utterly absurd to deny that, 
the feeling expressed by Dr. Troy, in the words which we have italicised 
above, was not exercising a potent influence on many of his co-religionists. 
There is no doubt that the horrible policy of Castlereagh was producing its 
intended fruits and producing in the minds of many Catholics the 
impression described by Dr. Troy in the letter now quoted. 

Told by its Plotters. 


present months two chapels have been burned and one greatly- 
injured. Attempts were made to destroy others, but frustrated 
by the exertions of loyal, dispassionate Protestants. I prevailed 
on a clergyman to go to Arklow, which had been without a 
priest since last December, when the Rev. Mr. Ryan was 
murdered. He went there with a strong protection from 
Government, which recommended him also to General Eustace 
and Colonel Cowper, of the Sligo Militia. The latter behaves 
as becomes a lover of peace, but candidly told the clergyman, 
Mr. Kearns, he could not control the violence of the Yeomanry. 
Mr. Kearns was obliged to lodge at the inn. Every Catholic 
and well-disposed Protestant, however willing to accommodate 
him, refused it from dread of the consequences.* He cannot go 
out by night, nor far from the town, and his life is threatened, 
and his person insulted most opprobriously. Thus circumstanced, 
I cannot insist on his remaining there, nor can I expect that any 
clergyman will venture to replace him. Mr. Smith, a Protestant 
of the town, offered his barn to Mr. Kearns to celebrate Mass in 
it, but without effect, as he was threatened with death for his 
humanity. f Mr. Kearns officiates within the walls of the old 
chapel which was burned, protected by a military guard ordered 
by Colonel Cowper. $ 

Now, if anybody supposes that, had Castlereagh been 
in earnest, a troop or two of English cavalry, provided 
with half a dozen halters, could not have ended the ter- 
rorism described in this letter of the Archbishop of 
Dublin, they must be strangely ignorant of the character- 
istics of Irish Orangeism. It is, indeed, highly probable 
that if, instead of the halters, the aforesaid troops of 
cavalry carried with them one or two of the triangles 
which, under the benignant supervision of Sirr and Beres- 
ford, were daily vibrating to the writhings of the unfortu- 
nate creatures who were being flogged in Dublin, at the 
Castle, or in Marlborough-street, the horrible state of things 
described by Dr. Troy would have soon come to an end. 

* Those who know Catholic Arklow to-day will wonder at this statement, 
the fact which it vouches for, however, proves the condition of abject 
terror to which the Orange faction had reduced the people. It was under 
such circumstances that the Union was offered to them as a means of 
escape from persecution. 

t One would hke to learn something more of the history of this "Mr. 
Smith," whose name stands out in honourable brightness from a back- 
ground of black tyranny and bloody persecution. 

X Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. iL, pp. 420, 21. 

120 The Story of the Union. 

In spite, however, of every effort of tyranny the real 
feelings of the people could not be entirely suppressed. 
On the 17th October Elliott wrote from Dublin Castle to 
Castlereagh, who was in London, as follows : — 

You will have heard from Marsden that the Union is likely to 
meet with opposition in Roscommon, and that a meeting for 
the discussion of it is summoned for the 2nd of next month. 
The anti-Unionists here are, I suspect, beginning to rally again. 
I am told that they are setting on foot an anti-Union newspaper. 
I understand, too, that a subscription has been commenced in 
some of the clubs for defraying the expense of Bushe's seat.* 

Grattan's son has left a good description of what was 
happening at this time, and which was referred to in 
the letter just quoted. He wrote :—t"One of the plans 
adopted and acted on by the Opposition was to bring 
into Parliament members to vote against the Union ; it 
amounted, in fact, to a project to outbuy the Minister, { 
which in itself was unwise, injudicious, and almost im- 
practicable, and in which they were sure to be far behind 
the Government ; a second plan was their literary war ; 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii., p. 428. 
t Life of Henry Grattan. Vol. v., pp. 70-3. 

% With reference to this scheme, Grattan, junior, says : — " A sub- 
scription was opened, the names set down were numerous, and the sums 
considerable; in a short time £100,000 was subscribed. Lord Downshire 
put down his name for £1,000, W. B. Ponsonby £500, George Ponsonby 
£500, and many others for sums equally large." The same writer gives an 
account of how the plan worked and how it failed. " Mr. Thomas 
Whaley had, in 1799, voted for the Union; he paid £4,000 for his elec- 
tion for the town of Enniscorthy ; he was not in affluent circumstances, but 
well inclined to oppose the Union, and Mr. Gould accordingly agreed that 
these expenses would be paid if he would vote against the Government. 
He did so and when the division took place on the question in 1800, Mr. 
Cooke, the acting man for Lord Castlereagh in the traffic with members, 
perceived him staying in the House, and said, ' You are mistaken — the 
ayes go out. Mr. Whaley replied, ' Yes, but I vote against the Union.' 
Cooke was surprised, but suspected the cause ; and the next day he went to 
him and offered him (to use his expression) ' a carte blanche ' ; but Mr. 
Whaley would not break the promise he had made to the Opposition ; 
the funds, however, were soon exhausted, and a member who would have 
opposed the Union was lost in consequence, and voted for it." Such men 
were hardly worth buying. Of those whose names are mentioned in 
this extract, W. B. Ponsonby, who was member for the county Kilkenny, 
resided in Rutland-square ; George Ponsonby, who represented the borough 
of Innistioge, in the same county, lived in Temple-street, while Whaley 
resided in St. Stephen's-green, in the house now occupied by University 

Told by its Plotters. 


this, as far as it went, was good, but it came too late, and 
was too feeble a weapon at such a crisis ; the third plan 
was to meet the Castle duelling club, and fight them with 
their own weapons ; this would have proved the most 
effective and deadly of the three plans, but it was 
hazardous, and, in principle, it could scarcely be sanc- 
tioned. . . . Their next measure — the literary pro- 
ceedings — consisted in getting together a number of men 
to write against the Union. . . . The party patro- 
nised the Constitution paper, and set up the Anti-Union. 
It was in the latter that they chiefly wrote, and in the 
former that their speeches were chiefly published. ... As 
to pamphlets, they teemed forth without number. . . . in 
one month upwards of thirty appeared . . . Had the 
third plan been acted on, the Government might have 
rued the consequences, but could not have complained, as 
it would merely have been following out the principle laid 
down by the Castle. A meeting of the friends of the 
Government had been convened, and the persons who were to 
support the several articles of Union were brought forward. 
Several members spoke on the occasion, and amongst 
them was Mr. St. George Daly ; he was one of the boldest, 
particularly active, and quite decided. He declared (these 
were his words) that his line had been taken, and that each 
of them must select their man, and that he had chosen 
his antagonist already. . . . After the meeting of 
the Castle (the pistolling) Club (such is the name it 
deserves), a meeting of the Opposition members was held 
at Lord Chariemont's to consider what should be done ; a 
similar mode to the Castle plan was proposed, but objected 
to, and, after discussion, was rejected. " 

Grattan, junior, added — and few Irishmen at the present 
day will be found to assert that his words were too extreme 
— " The true course of the Opposition (whose persons were 


The Story of the Union. 

thus assailed by assassins, while their Constitution and 
liberty were menaced by corruption, intrigue, and violence) 
was to have met the attack by war. They should have kept 
their ground in the Senate, lest it might be used against 
them ; but their councils should have been military ; their 
speeches should have yielded to adjutant generals' reports ; 
and, leaving the pistol to bullies, they should have stood, 
sword in hand, at the head of the people, and have rescued 
their country."* Such words were not too strong ; but the 
only Irishmen who would have been able, or would have 
had the heart to second such effort on the part of the 
defenders of the national Constitution, were precisely those 
who during the past two years they had been granting 
power to Castlereagh and Company to hang, torture, 
imprison, or exile. The Irish Parliament, under the in- 
fluence of the Orange faction, had written its own doom. 

* Life of Henry Grattan. Vol. v., pp. 74, 5, 

Told by its Plotters. 



Os the 19th October, 1799, Elliott had unpleasant news 
to transmit to Castlereagh. Despite the efforts of the 
plotters to produce a schism in the Dublin Corporation in 
favour of their projected measure, that body would have 
none of it, and passed a resolution of absolute condemnation 
of the scheme. Elliott could hardly believe his ears when 
he heard the tidings. When he wrote Castlereagh, he did 
not hesitate to show the anger which they had excited. He 
said : — " As Marsden is to write to you, he will, of course, 
send you all the particulars of the proceedings of the 
Common Council of Dublin, which was held yesterday, and 
at which a resolution was passed hostile to the Union. 
Thejresolution was afterwards confirmed by a meeting of 
the aldermen. There were no more than nine aldermen 
present, of whom two only, Alexander and Exshaw, voted 
against the resolution. Alderman James divided with the 
majority, for which he ought to lose his employment." 

Ten days after this letter was written, one still more 
interesting was written by Dr. Plunket, Bishop of Meath, 
to Lord Castlereagh. It affords conclusive evidence as to 
the real feelings of the majority of the Catholic clergy and 
laity towards the Union. It must be admitted that they 
showed more political foresight than did certain amongst 
the bishops. Dr. Plunket's letter was in reply to one from 
Castlereagh pressing for his support, and setting out 
reasons why it should be given. The good old prelate 
wrote : — 

ftavan, October 29tli, 1799. 
My Lord— I am but lately returned from my annual visita- 
tion, and such have been my avocations until now, that it was- 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. ii., p. 431. 


The Story of the Union. 

not well in my power immediately to answer the letter of the 
22nd inst. your lordship did me the honour to write to me. 

The motives which your lordship assigns to induce the Roman 
Catholics of Ireland to address in favour of a legislative Union 
with Great Britain are strong and forcible : they have often 
occurred to me these few months past, and have made a deep 
impression upon my mind. The sketch which accompanies your 
lordship's letter of an address to be founded on these motives 
conveys a clear outline of the substance of what ought to be 
said on the occasion. On the part of the Roman Catholic clergy 
there is no obstacle to the wish expressed by your lordship. The 
obstacle is on the part of the inhabitants of this county in general. 
The Roman Catholics of Meath are too near Dublin, and too 
much accustomed to listen to the opinions of the Protestants of 
Meath, to be as yet willing to declare in favour of the Union. 
They are not strangers to the principal arguments used to oppose 
it, and many of them believe these arguments to be unanswer- 
able. The clergy depend upon the people, and they say here 
they would act imprudently did they wound the feelings of their 
respective flocks by stepping beyond their own sphere, and abet- 
ting a system to which the people are not yet reconciled. " We 
cannot separate from our parishioners," add they. " In political 
questions it becomes us rather to follow than to lead"* To this 
kind of reasoning, my lord, I must confess, it is not easy to reply. 
For my part, I will heartily join the Roman Catholics of Meath 
the very instant they will show a disposition to declare in favour 
of the Union. f Until then, your lordship perceives I must con- 
tent myself with defending and supporting the message when 
opportunities offer of doing so with advantage.— I have the honour 
to be, &c, 

C. J. Plunket.J 

The system of gross and unscrupulous corruption which 
was rampant at this period is well evidenced by a letter 
which has been preserved, written by Sir Richard Musgrave, 
Bart., to Cooke. This Musgrave was a wicked and malig- 
nant libeller of his fellow-countrymen. He was engaged at 
this time in the production of his so-called " History of the 
Rebellion of 1798," which was a piece of monumental lying, 

* One can imagine the twinkle in the eyes of the manly and devoted 
pastors of Meath, whose words were law with their flocks, when they uttered 
such sentiments as these to their courtly but saintly old Bishop. The fate 
of the individual who would have tried to act on them in any of their 
parishes would not have been a pleasant one. The truth is, of course, that 
they were, like their people, heart and soul against the Union. 

t It is difficult not to think that Dr. Plunket was poking fun at the 
Chief Secretary in this letter. For dry humour this last sentence could 
scarcely be surpassed. The promise made in it was a very safe one. 

X Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. ii., pp. 437, 38. 

Told by its Plotters. 125 

but only the climax of a series of acts of treachery towards 
Ireland for which he was anxious to receive reward. In 
the approaching discussion and votes on the question of th? 
Uniou, he saw his way to compelling the Government to 
pay the price of his treachery and malignity. He wrote as 
follows : — 

Excnouth, Nov. 1, 1799. 
Dear Sir — I beg leave to assure you that I have not renounced 
my opinions on Irish politics, as they were founded in principle. 
But I must confess that I was very jealous at seeing Government 
confer considerable favour on some persons who were not in Parlia- 
ment — on others who were but a short time in it — and on others 
who either opposed them with intemperate zeal, or did not evince 
an earnest desire to serve them. Lord Camden informed me in 
the year 1797 that the Duke of Portland had recommended me to 
him for an appointment, and though Government had more to 
dispose of from that period to the present than for ten years 
before, I have not been considered, and I could not even learn 
that Administration had in contemplation to serve me. I rested 
entirely on their honour, but I was informed by some persons of 
respectability, who were connected with the Government, that I 
had no chance of receiving a favour from them unless I made 
terms and obtained a specific promise beforehand, and that 
without doing so I may wait thorn defluit amnis. From my zeal 
on all occasions to promote peace and good order, to refute those 
opinions and to decry those baneful principles which have 
desolated many parts of Europe, I flatter myself that the public 
would not consider me as unworthy of an appointment. It; 
would make my mind easy if I were certain that such an 
appointment as I would accept was intended for me when the 
question of the Union will be determined. I am extremely 
glad to find that the mass of the people regard that measure in 
its true light. — I am, dear sir, your faithful and obedient servant, 


P.S. — My " History of the Rebellion " is far advanced.* 

A post worth £1,200 a-year, that of Receiver of Customs 
in Dublin, rewarded Musgrave's past services and secured 
his vote for the Union. f 

On the 16th November, Cornwallis wrote a letter to 
Major-General Ross, which conveys a vivid idea of the 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol iiL, pp. 143, 44. 
t Musgrave was one of the members for the borough of Lismore. He died 
7th April, ISIS, at his residence in Holies-street, Dublin. 


The Story of the Union. 

state of terrorism which the Orange faction was creating 
and maintaining in the country. The Viceroy wrote : — 
"The greatest difficulty which I experience is to control 
the violence of our loyal friends, who w T ould, if I did not 
keep the strictest hand upon them, convert the system of 
material law (which God knows is of itself bad enough) into 
a more violent and intolerable tyranny than that of Robes- 
pierre. The vilest informers are hunted out from the 
prisons to attack by the most barefaced perjury the lives 
of all who are suspected of being, or having been, disaffected ; 
and, indeed, every Roman Catholic of influence is in great 
danger."* Such was the condition of Ireland as it appeared 
in the eyes of the Lord Lieutenant. Is it wonderful that 
under such circumstances some few Catholics w T ere tempted 
to accept Castlereagh's pledges that the passage of the 
Union would be the forerunner of their emancipation ? 

The moment for the final struggle was fast approaching. 
On both sides of the Channel no efforts were being spared 
by the Ministry and their friends to secure the success of 
their scheming. Pitt himself was in the thick of the 
plotting and the planning. On the 26th November he 
wrote to Oastlereagh telling how he had " just seen Lord 
Downshire," how " his conversation was friendly in manner," 
despite the fact that he " could not obtain from him any- 
thing decisive on the great subject in question." Downshire 
appeared to be waiting to see how matters w T ere likely to go 
before committing himself to any line of action. Pitt com- 
plained that " at one time he said his mind was still open 
to hear what might be stated, and hinted that his opinion 
might depend on the nature of the terms ; but he did not 
convey to me any specific idea what terms would content 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., p» 145. 
t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. iii., pp. 1 0, 1 1. 

Told by its Plotters 


Nearly a fortnight later the Duke of Portland wrote 
Cornwallis as follows : — 

Whitehall, Dec. 9th, 1799. 

My Lord— I have the honour to send your Excellency here- 
with, by the messenger Gurnett, a set of the proposed Reso- 
lutions and Articles of the intended Union, with the latest 
corrections which have been made in them. 

You will probably have been in daily expectation of receiving 
these papers from the time of Lord Castlereagh's arrival in 
Dublin ; but I have not lost a moment in transmitting them to 
you since they have been returned to me by the several persons 
to whose consideration it was deemed necessary and expedient to 
submit them. 

— I have the honour to be, &c, 


The need of money, for the purposes of bribery, was 
being felt more and more as the hour of battle drew 
nearer. Castlereagh wrote to Portland in the following 
terms : — 

Private and most secret. 

Dublin Castle, Dec. 17th, 1799. 

My Lord— Since I last had the honour of addressing your 
Grace, we have been making the best preparations in our 
power for the approaching contest ; as far as we can make up 
our lists, w T e reckon at present on 180 supporters. I cannot 
absolutely state the above numbers to be secured beyond the 
possibility of disappointment ; but, making allowances for the 
trifling discontents inseparable from party, I do not at present 
perceive any disposition which should lead us to apprehend any 
considerable defection. Of the remaining 120 members I consider 
85 as decidedly hostile, and 35 whose politics are not yet distinctly 
ascertained. Amongst the latter description I reckon Lord 
Downshire's and Lord De Clifford's friends. I am yet without any 
answer from the latter, which does not lead me to augur so 
favourably of his intentions as the nature of his communica- 
tions to me when I was in London seemed to authorise. If 
your Grace can use any means on your side of the water to pre- 
vail on him to declare himself, it would have an important effect. 

Your Grace, I trust, will not be surprised at my requesting that 
you will assist us in the same way\ and to the same extent as 
you did previous to Mr. Elliott's leaving London. The advantages 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., p. 159. 

* The amount originally sent was £5,000. 

128 The Story of the Union. 

have been important, and it is very desirable that this request 
should be complied with without delay. — I have, &c., 


The remittance which Castlereagh demanded does not 
seem to have been sent immediately, and hence he was 
compelled to write another appeal, this time to John King, 
Under Secretary of State, t This letter was as follows : — 


Dublin Castle, Jan. 2nd, 1800. 
My Dear Sir — . . . I am impatient to hear from you ,on 
the subject of my letter to the Duke. We are in great dis- 
tress, and I wish the transmiss was more considerable than the 
last ; it is very important that we should not be destitute of the 
means on which so much depends. . . . — Ever yours, &c, 

Castlereagh. t 

King sent this letter to the Duke of Portland, with 
the following memorandum attached : — 


It was sent this day to Lord Castlereagh. I ventured so far a 
to observe to Lord Castlereagh that the fund was good security 
for a still further sum, though not immediately, if it could be 
well laid out and furnished on the spot. I trust I did not go too 

Such were some of the sanctified means by which the 
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was being 

Parliament was to assemble on the 15th. On the previous 
day Cooke wrote to Beresford, who was still in England, 
giving him an account of the prospects of the session which 
was about to open. He said : — 

The conversation of the clubs is with us. They think we 
must succeed, and that the property is with us. The Anti- 
Unionists count upon 92 only, and I know they are deceived as 
to several in their list. 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., p. 150. 

t King, who was bom April 18th, 1759, and died February 23rd, 1830* 
married, in 1792, a daughter of the Bishop of Bath and Wells. He was 
Under Secretary of State, 1792 to 1806 ; then Secretary of the Treasury 
to July, 1806; then Comptroller of Army Accounts till his death. He was 
M.P. for Enniskillen, February to July, 1806. 

X Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., p. 156. 

§ Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Yol. iii., p 156. 

Told by its Plotters. 129 

Lord Wat erf or J is come up, but I have not seen him ; Lord 
Castlereagh tells me he is in good spirits. Lord Shannon is in 
rude health and hearty. I think we gain ground every day. 

Parnell thinks we are all humbugging, and that the game is 
meant to be abandoned. I am afraid, like all humbuggers, he 
will humbug himself, which I regret. His daughter is rather 
better, and he is coming up to town.* 

Foster was as irreconcilable as the unpurchasable Par- 
nell ; on the same day as Cooke wrote the letter just quoted 
he wrote Castlereagh as follows : — 

January 14th, 1800. 
The Speaker presents his compliments to Lord Castlereagh, 
and has had the honour of receiving his invitation to the meet- 
ing at the Castle to-night. As he understood that his not having 
received a summons to a similar meeting last year arose from his 
sentiments being known to be adverse to a Legislative Union, he 
begs leave to acquaint his lordship that his sentiments will con- 
tinue the same.f 

The first debate took place on the 15 th. Commencing at 
an early hour, it was protracted by the opponents o£ 
Government so as to secure time for Grattan to reach 
the House after his election. On the next day Cornwallis 
wrote a description of what had taken place to Ross, 
He said : — 

Dublin Castle, January 16th, 1800. 

Dear Ross— After a debate of eighteen hours in the House of 
Commons upon an amendment proposed by the Anti-Unionists 
to the Address— "To maintain the Independence of the Irish 
Parliament as settled in 1782 "—the division was : For the 
amendment, 96 ; against, 138. Majority for Government, 42. 

Mr. Grattan took his seat in the latter part of the debate, 

* Correspondence of the Eight Hon. John Beresford. Vol. ii., p. 237. 
Parnell could do very much more than humbug ; he was one of the ablest 
of the opponents of the Government. It is curious to find H. Alexander, 
M.P., writing at this period to the Right Hon. Thomas Pelham :— 
'•With Ponsonby, Grattan, Bushe, Plunket, &c, to agitate the mob, and 
Foster and Parnell to obstruct public business, much is to be laboured." 
Cornwallis Correspondence. Vol. hi., p. 161. A talent for so-called 
"obstruction" must have been hereditary with the Parnells. 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. hi., p. 225. 
Castlereagh wrote in reply, explaining that the omission to send an invita- 
tion to the meeting referred to by Foster was merely the result of the 
blunder of an official in his department. 



The Story of the Union. 

between seven and eight o'clock this morning,* and made an 
inflammatory speech, which was most admirably answered by 
Cony, and Grattan is thought to have done more harm than 
good to the Opposition. I am assured that we had the advantage 
in speaking as well as voting ; and, considering the number of our 
friends that were out of Parliament on account of their having 
accepted offices, things certainly look very favourably. Lord 
Downshire and De Clifford were both against us ; Lord Darnley 
is with us, but neither of his members came over to vote.— Yours 
ever, &c, 


By the same mail Cornwallis sent a more official and less 
familiar, but otherwise similar, report of what had taken 
place to Portland. Two days later, on the 18th, Castle- 
reagh wrote to the same nobleman telling him that " the 
debate and division on Wednesday had certainly had the 
best effects/'J but on the 21st the Viceroy had to write 
as follows : — 

Since my last communication to your grace of the 18th instant, 
every means have been taken by the anti-Unionists to influence 
the minds of the people. The Guild of Merchants have entered 
into strong resolutions against the measure of the Union, couched 
in the most insidious language, urging strenuously a coalition of 

* Grattan's son has left us a description of the circumstances under which 
this speech was delivered. His words show clearly how little the right 
of the people to exercise any influence over the selection of their represen- 
tatives was regarded by either of the political parties at this period. Henry 
Grattan, junr., writes : " At the close of 1799 he returned from the Isle of 
Wight, and retired to Tinnehinch, almost brokenhearted— not only hopeless, 
but helpless ; enfeebled in body and depressed in spirits, but in mind still 
unsubdued. Immediately on his arrival, a deputation from his friends 
waited on him to request that he would re-enter Parliament ; but he was 
obliged to decline the offer in consequence of the state of his health. Soon 
after they informed him that a seat was vacant, Mr. Gahan, one of the 
members for the town of Wicklow having died, and Mr. William Tighe, the 
patron of the borough, would not be averse that he should be returned 
for it." A sum of £1,200 we are told was paid for the seat; then the 
narrative proceeds :— " The sheriff being friendly, he allowed the election 
to be held after twelve o'clock on the night of the 15th. Mr. Tighe got the 
officer to sign the returns and set off immediately on horseback with it. 
He arrived in Dublin about five in the morning. Then Grattan, who 
believed himself to be dying, was with difficulty induced to rise from the 
bed on which he had spent a night of great suffering, and, wrapped in 
blankets, was carried down in a sedan chair to the House. He carried 
a brace of loaded pistols, lest, according to his son, "he might be attacked 
by the Union party and assassinated." Life of Henry Grattan. Vol. v., 
pp. 75-7. Grattan was lodging at this time in the house of a Mr. Austin, 
in Baggot-street. 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. Hi., p. 163. 
1 Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., p. 166. 

Told by its Plotters. 131 

all sects in opposition to it, and offering their warmest thanks to 
44 their Roman Catholic fellow-citizens" in Dublin, for their 
manly and patriotic conduct.* 

On the 2Gth, Cornwallis wrote, this time to his friend 
the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, a letter which 
deserves to be quoted chiefly because it contains a descrip- 
tion of the course of political events from a contemporary 
pen. In this letter he said : 

Dublin Castle, January 24th, 1800. 
Dear James — Our division against the amendment to the 
address \va? to the full sm good as we expected. It was necessary 
that an adjournment should afterwards take place, on account of 
the number of seats that have been vacated. There can, I think, 
now be no doubt of our Parliamentary success, although I believe 
that a great number of our friends are not sincere well-wishers to 
the measure of Union. ... In Dublin and its vicinity the 
people are all outrageous against the Union. + 

About this time a circular was issued by some of the 
leaders of the Opposition to the proposed Union which was 
productive of much disquiet in governmental circles. This 
document was as follows : — 

Dublin, January 20th, 1800. 
Sir — A number of gentlemen of both Houses of Parliament, of 
whom thirty-eight represent counties, have authorised us to 
acquaint you that it is their opinion that petitions to Parlia- 
ment, declaring the real sense of the freeholders of the kingdom 
on the subject of a Legislative Union, would at this time be 
highly expedient : and if such a proceeding shall have your 
approbation, we are to request you will use your influence to 
have such a petition from your county without delay. — "We have 
the honour to be, sir, your most obedient, humble servants, 


w. b. ponsonby.1: 

As soon as Castlereagh got hold of a copy of this letter 
he at once wrote to his friend King, the Secretary of State, 
basing on it a demand for more money. The fight was 
thickening ; gold was the deadliest ammunition in the 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., p. 168. 
t Memoirs and Correspondence of LordCornwallis. Vol. iii., p. 1G1>. 
X This circular was drafted by Sir John Parnell. 


The Story of the Union. 

estimation of the Unionist generals. The fact that it was 
their chief means of facilitating the advance of their pro- 
jects is alone sufficient to for ever stamp their work with 
infamy in the estimation of honest men. There can be no 
doubt that Castlereagh and his companions were really 
traitors and rebels conspiring against thelawfully-established 
Constitution of the realm, and that their conduct would 
have been most fittingly rewarded by an indictment for high 
treason and their execution according to law. Nothing — 
no lapse of time, no vote of any Parliament, or of any con- 
stituency — can ever make the Act of Union anything but a 
deed of rebellion, a triumph of traitorism, unsanctified and 
invalid in the eyes of every loyal and honest Irishman. 
It was, and is, a crime against the Constitution of the 
kingdom of Ireland. 

Told by its Plotters. 



Castlereagh's appeal for more money, referred to in the 
last chapter, was as follows : — 


Dublin Castle, Jan. 25th, 1S0O. 

My Dear Sir — ... I send you a curious Consular 
Edict, which the Opposition have issued. Where these gentle- 
men found 38 county members to invest them with authority I 
know not. They are using their best endeavours to consoli- 
date an Opposition which, at least, may have sufficient strength 
to embarrass the details ; and a subscription is going forward, not 
only amongst the party in Parliament, but in the city, to form 
a stock-purse. They have already humbugged two of our friends, 
■who had vacated by acceptance of office, out of their seats in Par- 
liament : one for Kilbeggan, the other for Enniscorthy.* The 
patrons of the boroughs, being adverse, availed themselves of some 
ilaw in the agreement, and are likely to return two very trouble 
some lawyers in their stead 

I shall be anxious to hear from you on the above subject, and 
not less on a wish expressed in a former letter, which is the more 
pressing from the intelligence I send you. — Ever, my dear sir, &c. a 


The Lord Lieutenant was nearly as much discomposed 
as the Chief Secretary over the circular which produced 
this letter. He wrote as follows to the Duke of Portland: — 

Dublin Castle, Jan. 27th, 1800. 
My Dear Lord — I have the honour to enclose to your Grace a 
copy of a circular-letter, bearing the signatures of Lords Down- 
shire and Charlemont and Mr. William Ponsonby 

* The two "friends" here referred to were Sir Francis Hopkins, Bart.» 
and Mr. Robert Cornwall. These miserable creatures had at first voted 
against the Union, but, influenced by Castlereagh, afterwards agreed to 
apply for the nominal office of Escheatorship of Minister, which was the 
Irish equivalent of the English Stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds, in 
order to enable the return of Unionists for the boroughs they represented. 
There cannot be the slightest doubt that the wretched men were well paid 
for this course of conduct ; but their treachery proved useless to Castlereagh, 
inasmuch as he failed in his efforts to purchase the real owners of the 
boroughs in question. Mr. Lambert, the owner of Kilbeggan, returned a 
Mr. Goold, a barrister, and Lord Lismore, owner of Enniscorthy, sent into 
Parliament the celebrated Peter Burrowes. Both the new members were 
pronounced Anti-Unionists; but this did not prevent them in later life 
accepting lucrative appointments— one as Master in Chancery and the 
other as Judge of the Insolvent Court. 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., p. 170. 

134 The Story of the Union. 

Whether this extraordinary production has had any influence on 
the minds of certain persons it is difficult to determine ; but 
the utmost activity and exertions are making to convene county 
meetings. . . . 

Mr. Saurin is to be brought into Parliament by Lord Down- 
shire, and two or three barristers of most violent dispositions are 
in like manner to be elected. 

The minds of the people of Dublin are still inflamed, and the 
ferment that exists amongst all descriptions of persons in this city 
is exceeding great. 

In this situation, and at this crisis, your Grace cannot be 
surprised at my again expressing an anxious hope for the speedy 
arrival of the reinforcement of troops which have been long ex- 
pected ... In the state of irritation in Dublin, I feel it my 
duty strongly to press the necessity of their being sent as early 
as possible. — I have, &c, 


More gold, more bayonets ! Corruption and intimidation 
were to be the foundation of an " united empire " ! Castle- 
reagh was quite annoyed when, about this time, he dis- 
covered that the national party in Parliament were adopt- 
ing at least a part of his own tactics. He wrote in the fol- 
lowing words to Portland : — 


Dublin Castle, Jan. 29, 1800. 
My Lord — . . . It is said that a very considerable sum 
has been subscribed, as it is professed, for the purpose of buying 
seats to resist the Union. If I can believe a member of Parlia- 
ment who has now a seat vacant, £4,000 was offered him for the 
return in Mr. Curran's favour. Two lawyers of very dubious 
principles, Mr. Bunowes and Mr. Goold, have been returned for 
two seats which we had reason to count upon. This reinforce- 
ment to the democratic party in the Opposition will not operate 
unfavourably.— I have, &c, 


On the 31st, Cornwallis wrote once more to his unfailing 
friend, Major-General Ross, a letter, in the course of which 
he told him that "The clamour against the Union is increas_ 
ing rapidly, and every degree of violence is to be expected. 
As none of the English regiments have yet arrived, I have 
been under the necessity of ordering the Lancashire Volun- 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. hi., p. 173. 
t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol hi., p. 174. 

Told by its Plotters. 135 

teers (Lord Grey de Wilton's) from Youghal to Dublin. 
This will create much alarm aud abuse, but the apprehen- 
sions of our friends rendered the measure absolutely 
necessary. The Roman Catholics, for whom I have not been 
able to obtain the slightest token of favour, are joining 
the standard of Opposition, to which they have been much 
impelled by the imprudent speeches and the abuse cast upon 
them by our friends."* The arrogance and insolence of 
the Orange faction at this time knew no limits. 

On the same day the Viceroy also wrote to King a letter, 
in which he said : — " You will naturally wish to be informed 
how numbers are likely to stand on our next division. As 
far as I can calculate, the Opposition may divide 111 ; 
they talk of more, but it is not within my knowledge. If 
our friends attend well we may produce 175.' f On the 
4th February he once more wrote Ross : — 

The business of our House of Commons was put off yesterday 
on account of Lord Castlereagh's indisposition, but I believe he 
will be able to attend to-morrow. The indefatigable exertions, 
aided by the subscriptions, of the anti-Unionists have raised a 
powerful clamour against the measure in many parts of the 
kingdom and have put the capital in quite an uproar, and, I am 
sorry to say, some of our unwilling supporters in Parliament 
have taken advantage of these appearances to decline giving any- 
further support. God only knows how the business will termi- 
nate ; but it is so hard to struggle against private interests and 
the pride and prejudices of a nation that I shall never feel con- 
fident of success until the Union is actually carried. 

The excitement in Dublin at this period was intense. 
The streets were nightly filled by vast crowds of people. 
The Houses of Parliament were surrounded during the 
hours of debate by angry mobs, whose attentions were 
found not only unpleasant but dangerous by those mem. 
bers who were known to be supporters of the proposed 
Union. Troops were paraded in College-green, and all 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., p. 175. 
t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., p. 175. 


The Story of the Union. 

the principal thoroughfares occupied and patrolled by 
cavalry. It was under such circumstances that the first 
important division was taken. A little after midnight on 
the 6th February, Cornwallis wrote the following despatch 
to the Duke of Portland : — 

!Pi'i va t e 

Dublin Castle, Feb. 6, 1800. 
Half-past one p.m. 
My Dear Lord— The House of Commons has just adjourned 
upon the question for taking his Majesty's message into considera- 
tion for a Legislative Union with Great Britain, after a debate 
from four o'clock yesterday afternoon to one o'clock this day. 
On a division there appeared for the question 158 ; against it, 
115 ; a majority, consequently, of 43 were in favour of the 
Union.— I have, &c, 

Cornwallis. * 

Notwithstanding the substantial nature of their majority, 
the plotters of the Union were by no means satisfied. They 
had expected better results. No less than twelve of their 
supporters deserted them in their hour of greatest trial. 
Castlereagh was furious. On the 7th February he wrote 
to Portland complaining of what had taken place. He 
said : — 

Colonel Bagwell's desertion was altogether unexpected ; he 
had engaged in the strongest manner to give the measure his 
unqualified support, and the objects he solicited were promised. 
His change of conduct is attributed partly to fear and partly to 
expectations given him by the leaders of Opposition in the 
event of their influence being established. Sir R. Butler, Mahon, 
and Fetherstone were taken off by county cabals during the' 
recess, and Whaley absolutely bought by the Opposition stock- 
purse. He received, I understand, £2,000 down, and is to 
receive as much more after the service is performed. f 

Castlereagh's complaining of the use of bribery was 
decidedly amusing. The Lord Lieutenant was hardly in 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. hi., p. 177. 
t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. hi., p. 182. 

Told by its Plotters. 


better humour than the Chief Secretary. He wrote to 
the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry as follows : — 

Dublin Castle, February 8, 1800. 
Dear James— Our situation is critical ; twelve of our sup- 
porters deserted to the enemy on the last division, one was 
bought daring the debate (Jerusalem Whalley, the Chancellor's 
brother-in-law). The enemy to my certain knowledge offer five 

thousand pounds ready money for a vote How it 

will end God only knows ! I think there are not more than 
four or five of our people that can be either bought off or in- 
timidated, but there is no answering for the courage or integrity 
of our senators — Yours, &c, 


On the following day, Portland wrote to Cornwallis an 
utterly unscrupulous letter, pledging him every possible 
support in the power of the British Cabinet to give. 
Portion of this communication w T as as follows : — 

Most private and confidential. 

Whitehall, February 9th, 1800. 

My Lord— I have had the honour of receiving to-day by 
express your Excellency's despatches of the 4th, 5th, and 6th 
inst., containing, together with the result of the debate on your 
message to the House of Commons respecting the Union, some 
intimations with regard to desertions that have already hap- 
pened, and which may be expected, and which make me feel it 
incumbent upon me to lose no time in assuring your Excellency 
that, although the comparative numbers in the division on 
Thursday do not exactly correspond with the expectations which 
Ave had entertained of them, there is nothing in the appearance 
of the strength of the enemy which seems to warrant an appre- 
hension of the ultimate success of the measure, or which on 
motives of policy or expediency can call upon his Majesty's 
Government to lay it aside for the present. But, on the contrary, 
justice to individuals, as well as the interests of the empire, 
requires that no means should be omitted, no exertion neglected^ 
that can ensure this measure, and there is no assistance of any 
"kind xohich the Government of this country can afford your 
Excellency that you may not dejiend upon.f 

The toils were closing fast on the fluttering form of Irish 

X Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., pp. 183. 4. 
t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., pp. 187, 8. 

138 The Story of the Union. 

Three days later, on the 12th, the Duke wrote again to 
Conrwallis, declaring that he could '"'not omit to repeat 
his assurance" of "the fullest support of his Majesty's 
Government," while he further " authorised and instructed' 7 
him " to declare that no disappointment would ever induce 
his Majesty or his servants to recede from or to suspend 
their endeavours, but that it was his Majesty's fixed and 
unalterable determination to direct, session after session, 
the proposition of Union to be renewed to Parliament." 
No effort was to be spared towards the discouragement 
of those who were disposed to struggle on in defence of 
the national liberties. Part of Cornwallis's task was to 
assure them of the hopelessness of the patriotic and 
pathetic task which they had undertaken. 

On the 18th February, Cornwallis indited a farewell 
despatch to Portland, in which he gave him a lengthened 
report of the famous debate which terminated on that 
day in the voting of the preliminary resolution to the 
articles of Union, by a majority of 161 to 115. By the 
same mail, however, he wrote to his friend, Eoss, a letter 
in which he retold the story already narrated to Portland, 
but in much briefer and more homely way. He wrote : — 

Dublin Castle, Feb. 18, 1800. 

Dear Ross — After a debate of twenty hours we carried the 
£rst proposition in the committee — " That a Legislative Union 
of the two kingdoms was desirable" — by a majority of 46. There 
was no appearance of defection amongst our supporters, so that I 
trust the measure will be carried. 

Corry very unwisely made another attack on Grattan, who had 
rather the advantage afterwards in his replies, with respect to 
abuse, and then wounded him (Corry) in the arm, in a meeting 
in the Phoenix Park. This is unlucky, and tends rather to raise 
Grattan, who was as low before as his enemies could wish.* I 
write in great haste. — Most truly yours, 


* If Grattan was " low," it was because of the gross perjuries which Clare 
and his colleagues had procured to be sworn against him during the investi- 
gations of the Secret Committee appointed to inquire into the United Irish 
system. He was never " low " in the estimation of honest men. 

Told by its Plotters. ISO 

Henceforward the letters of the colleagues in conspiracy 
were chiefly devoted to the transactions which were taking 
place in Parliament, through which assembly their project 
was being slowly and painfully worked. Under such cir- 
cumstances one resort, and one only, was open to them. 
They should have more money for bribery. In this their 
hour of need they turned to their staunch supporter. They 
applied once more to King. Castlereagh wrote as 
follows : — 

Private and Secret. 

Dublin Castle, Feb. 27th, 1S00. 
My Dear Sir — ... I see no prospect of converts ; 
the Opposition are steady to each other. I hope we shall be able 
to keep our friends true. A few votes might have a very 
injurious effect. We require your assistance, and you must be 
prepared to enable us to fulfil the expectations which it was 
impossible to avoid creating at the moment of difficulty. You 
may be sure we have rather erred on the side of modera- 
tion. . . . Believe me, &c, 


John King, Esq. 

An answer not arriving as speedily as desired, another 
appeal was despatched. Cooke wrote this time. His letter 
was as follows : — 


Dublin Castle, March 1st, 1800. 
Dear Sir — . . . When can you make the remittance pro- 
mised ? It is absolutely essential, for our demands increase. 
Pray let Lord Castlereagh know without delay what can be done 
by you.— Faithfully yours, 


John King, Esq. 

On all sides the Government were being pressed to pay 
the price of treachery. The Protestant Primacy was vacant, 
and Agar was straining every nerve to secure the emolu- 
ment and advancement, the hope of obtaining which had 

* Life of Henry Grattan. By his son. Vol v., p. 186. 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. hi., pp. 200, 1. 


The Story of the Union. 

dictated his conduct. Cornwallis wrote to the Duke of 
Portland : — 


Dublin Castle, March 24th, 1800. 

My Dear LORD— Lord Clifclen, to whom we stand indebted 
for seven Union votes, Lord Callan, who has two friends in the 
House of Commons, and Mr. Preston, member for Navan, all 
nearly related to the Archbishop of Cashel, came to me this day 
to request that I would again submit his name to his Majesty's 
consideration for the succession to the Primacy. 

The earnest wishes of these persons, from whom we have 
received such powerful support in our arduous contest, added 
to the Archbishop's own merits in the cause, may, perhaps, 
induce his Majesty to think more favourably of his Grace's pre- 
tensions ; and I must confess after the kingdoms become united 
I cannot see any objection to an Irish Primate. 

If your Grace should see reasons which have not occurred to 
me against the appointment of the Archbishop of Dublin, I 
should wish that the matter might lie over until you see Lord 
Castlereagh, who proposes going to England during the recess 
of our Parliament. — I have, &c, 


Eventually the Primacy was given to an Englishman ; 
but the arrogant and avaricious Agar received what he 
probably valued more — the Archiepiscopal See of Dublin. 

Four days later Cornwallis wrote as follows to Port- 
land : — 

Dublin Castle, March 28, 1800. 
My Lord — It is with the truest satisfaction that I am enabled 
to submit to your Grace this evening the joint Address of both 
Houses of Parliament to his Majesty, accompanied by the reso- 
lutions they have passed in favour of a Legislative Union with 
Great Britain. 

By the exertions of the Chancellor all the Union resolutions 
passed through the Committee of the Lords on Monday last, with 
little opposition, except from Lord Farnham and Lord Bella- 
mont. They were reported on Wednesday and agreed to by a 
majority of 50, the contents present being 48. the proxies 24 ; the 
non-contents present, 16; proxies, 6. 

Yesterday the amendments made -by the Lords were brought 
down to the Commons, and were forthwith taken into considera- 
tion, and agreed to without a division. Lord Castlereagh then 
moved an Address to his Majesty, in order to lay the resolutions 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., p. 202. 

Told by its Plotters. 141 

before him, which, after some observations from Mr. O'Donnell 
and Mr. Dawson, was agreed to. The Address was then sent 
to the Lords for their concurrence, who forthwith approved it, 
and it was resolved that the two Houses should attend me this 
day at four o'clock, which they have accordingly done. 

Foster persisted to the last in the opposition which 
more than anything else has tended to induce his country- 
men to cast the veil of charitable forgiveness over the ter- 
rible defects otherwise visible in his political conduct and 
character. Cornwall is proceeded : — 

The resolutions had been sent up from the Commons in an 
embarrassed order which the Speaker had prevented from being 
rectified. The Chancellor, however, took care that this defect 
in the proceedings should be remedied, and by his Lordship's 
attention the resolutions were sent back to the Commons, in the 
form and order in which they are transmitted, and which, I 
trust, will prove to be correct and satisfactory.* 

The passage of these infamous resolutions had been 
brought about by enormous and extravagant bribery and 
promises, the fruit of which was to be soon witnessed in 
the state of the public accounts of the realm. Figures 
certainly cannot lie in the present case. On the 25th 
March, 1798, before the rebellion had broken out, the 
funded debt of Ireland amounted to 

On the 25th March, 1799, after the rebellion was 
over, to 

£14,920,000 ; 

and on the 1st January, 1801, after the expenditure on 
the Union had been completed, the debt amounted to the 
enormous sum of 


The entire of this increase was unquestionably due to 
the lavish and prodigal expenditure for the purposes of 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii. , pp. 2 1 7, 1 8. 

142 The Story of the Union. 

bribery, which was largely supplemented by grants from 
the English Secret Service Fund. The following letter 
tells its own tale of infamy. It is from Cooke, who had 
gone to London, to Castlereagh : — 


London, April 5th, 1800. 

My Dear Lord— I have seen the Duke of Portland and Mr. 
Pitt a second time. The Duke is anxious to send you the need- 
ful. Mr. Pitt is equally disposed, but fears it is impossible to 
the extent. He will continue to let you have from £8,000 to 
£10,000 for five years. I hope to find out to-night what sum can 
be sent. . . . 

Mr. Pitt approves of your taking advantage of the vacancies 
in the Civil List. Quere — Will the law allow you to increase 
the number of the Commissioners of Boards ? . . . 

There seems to be entire satisfaction in my Lord Lieutenant's 
and your conduct, and you are in high feather here. — Believe 
me, &c, 

E. Cooke.* 

Writing years afterwards, Henry Grattan, junior, described 
the politician to whom this letter, as well as so many of o 
similar nature were addressed, as "a corrupt man and a 
most profligate Minister, devoid of any political principle 
whatever. He was cold-blooded, cruel, false, and hollow. 
He must have heard the lash and seen the triangles, but he 
shut his eyes and closed his ears, and let the bloody work 
go on, and the backs of his fellow-countrymen quiver 
beneath the torture. He had no heart — he had no 
humanity."! Such was Castlereagh. 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. 
t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. 

Vol. hi., p. 222. 
Vol. hi., p. 226. 

Told by Us Plotters. 



Ox the 18th April, Cornwallis wrote a friendly letter to 
Ross, which contained one of the most damaging and signi- 
ficant confessions contained in any of the correspondence 
of the period. He wrote as follows : — 

Phoenix Park, April 18th, 1800. 
Dear Ross — . . . . You are quite mistaken if you sup- 
pose that I enjoy more leisure from the present Parliamentary 
recess. On the contrary, I am more occupied than ever, as Lord 
Castlereagh is gone into the North to contend with Lord Down- 
shire, and has taken Elliott with him, and Cooke is in England ; 
so that I have all the Civil business on my hands, in addition to 
the military details and the judicial management of part of 
the country, which is principally governed ly martial law.* But 
if I was perfectly idle, I should be afraid to mention the idea of 
incorporating the two ordnance establishments until the business 
of Union is finally concluded, as it would make an alarm amongst 
our expectant friends, who would apprehend that any alteration 
in our Board would abridge the means of meeting our engage- 
ments, f The nearer the great event approaches, the more are the 

* This was " the country" 1 which was supposed to he passing through a 
process of consultation as to the surrender of its legislative independence ! 

t The Irish Ordnance Board at this period was divided into civil and mili- 
tary departments. The official description of it as constituted at the period 
in question was as follows :— 


Master General— Earl of Drogheda. 
Lieutenant General— Earl of Carhampton. 
Surveyor— Hon. Thomas Pakenham. 
Clerk of the Ordnance— E. Magennis, Esq. 
Principal Storekeeper— Thomas Loftus, Esq. 
Clerk of the Deliveries— E. Wynne, Esq. 
Treasurer— Thomas Burgh, Esq. 

Secretary to the Masters General— Henry Meredyth, Esq. 
Secretary to the Board— John Armit, Esq. 
Proof Masters— W. Stokes and J. Hughes. 
Clerk of the Works— William SJtoker. 


Comptroller— John Pratt, Esq. 
Fire Master— David Robinson, Esq. 
Fire Master's Mate— C. Moore, Esq. 


Chief Engineer and Director— Colonel Thomas Pigot. 

Lieutenant— Colonel Valiancy. 

Major— Lieutenant-Colonel C. Tarrant. 

Captain— Major James Ferrier. 

Captain— Lieutenant John Browne. 

First Lieutenant— Alexander Taylor. 
Most of the appointments here set out were mere sinecures; to have 
threatened their abolition by any change would have alarmed the place- 
seekers who were supporting Government. 


The Story of the Union. 

needy and interested senators alarmed at the effects it possibly may 
have on their interests and the provision for their families, and 1 
believe that half of our majority would be at least as much 
delighted as any of our opponents, if the measure coidd be defeated. 

I trust, therefore, that Mr. Pitt will be able to return the Bill 
without any alteration.— Yours ever, &c, 


Meantime, the Union resolutions were being debated in 
the English Parliament, and much of the correspondence 
had reference to the efforts which were being made by the 
Opposition and others in that country to bring about changes 
in certain portions of the conditions already voted by the 
Irish Parliament. Eventually the resolutions were agreed 
to, and, with some slight alterations, returned to Dublin. 
Cornwallis tells what ensued. He wrote as follows to 
Portland : — 

Dublin Castle, May 13th, 1800. 

My Lord — In consequence of the assurances I had received 
that the resolutions on the subject of Union would arrive pre- 
vious to the sitting of this Parliament on yesterday, I had 
directed the necessary measures to be prepared for commencing 
business as early as possible. 

About two o'clock yesterday I had the satisfaction to receive 
your Grace's despatch of the 10th inst., enclosing the resolutions 
as agreed to by the two Houses of the Parliament of Great 
Britain, together with their joint address to his Majesty, and 
desiring me to communicate them as speedily as possible to 
the two Houses of the Irish Parliament. 

I accordingly sent a message to the two Houses, of which 
the following is a copy. 

In the Lords, the Chancellor, after presenting it, moved for its 
being considered on Wednesday. 

In the Commons, Lord Castlereagh moved that the considera- 
tion should take place to-day, and also moved a Committee to 
consider the alterations which had been made in Great Britain. 

This Committee will report at four o'clock, but it is not 
certain that the alterations can be agreed to this day, as, should 
Opposition object that they cannot be prepared to agree in the 
alterations till time is allowed to consider them, it may be 
necessary to concede a day or two for that purpose. f 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol., iii., p. 228. 
t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., pp. 32, 3. 

Told by its Plotters. 


Nine days later, on the 18th, Cornwallis told Ross : — 

We are going on extremely well ; some of the most difficult 
points, especially the selection of the boroughs that are to send 
members, have been carried without opposition ; the country 
is perfectly quiet, and cannot in general be said to be adverse 
to the Union. We are to have a Parliamentary battle on 
Wednesday next, on bringing in the Union Bill, and if we then 
make as good a division as we expect, there will be little further 

There is, of course, no reason to suppose that anyone will 
be found at the present day foolish enough to attempt to 
deny that Cornwallis, acting under the direction of, and 
with the consent of, Pitt and his colleagues, made promises 
to leading Irish Catholics which gave them good grounds 
for believing that the passage of the Union would be the 
sigual for their release from the abominable system of 
Orange ascendency and persecution under which they lived. 
In view, however, of the infinite possibilities of combined 
political rancour and ignorance, it is advisable to publish 
portion of a letter written by Cornwallis to Ross on the 
21st May, 1800. This ran in part as follows 

I can hardly form an opinion respecting my own stay in the 
country. My private wishes most earnestly prompt me to 
endeavour to get away as soon as possible, whilst my public 
duty tells me that I ought to attend to circumstances, and not to 
press for my leave to return if there should be a likelihood of its 
being attended with serious mischief. 

The Ministers know very little about this country, and they 
take an interested, violent, and prejudiced party, who call 
themselves friends to England and to the Protestant interest, 
for the people of Ireland. If a successor was to be appointed who 
should — as almost all Lords Lieutenant have done — throw 7 him- 
self into the hands of this party, no advantage would be derived 
from the Union. This party," however, must be treated with 
management and attention, and I have been so fortunate as to 
retain in a great degree their goodwill, and at the same time to 
have acquired the confidence of the Catholics. I am sensible 
that if the gentlemen whom I have described above were to look 
over me whilst I am writing they would smile at my saying that 
I have the confidence of the Catholics, for the first principle of 
their faith is that the Catholics can never be good subjects to 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. Hi., p. 235. 



The Story of the Union. 

our Government, and would cut all our throats if they could. I 
have, however, pretty clearly shown in the progress of the great 
measure in which we have been engaged, to all those who have 
eyes and temper to make use of them, that my influence on the 
Catholic body has nob been inconsiderable. You iviU easily 
understand that I cannot, either in consideration of wiy own 
character or the public safety, leave them as I found them. I 
have raised no unauthorised expectations, and have acted through- 
out with the sanction of the Cabinet. The period of my return, 
therefore, however ardently I wish for it, must still remain in 
a degree of uncertainty.* 

This letter was plain and distinct enough. The words, 

"I have raised no unauthorised expectations, and have 

acted throughout with the sanction of the Cabinet," leave 

no room for misconception. Such promises as Cornwallis 

made the Catholics were made with the full cognisance and 

approval of the Ministry . On the day following that on 

which the letter just quoted was written, Cornwallis wrote 

Portland as follows :-- - 

Dublin Castle, May 22nd, 1800. 
My Lop.d— i have the satisfaction to acquaint your grace 
that when Loid Caoolereagh yesterday adverted to the late pro- 
vidential escape which his Majesty has experienced, the House 
unanimously burst forth into the most general manifestation of 
loyalty.* Sir Lawrence Persons, on the part of Opposition, took 

* Memoirs and Coirctfpondeiiee of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. hi, pp. 237, 8. 

r The " providential escape" here referred to took place on the 15th Ma>, 
when the King early in the di,y, was nearly shoo by the accidental discharge 
of a ball cartridge by a soldier of the Grenadier Guards, while his Majesty 
was engaged reviewing' that ragirneiiu in Hyde Park ; and later on his life 
was deliberately attempted m Drury Lane Theatre hy an unfortunate 
madman ^axne'd Hatfield, The newspapers of the day describe the occur- 
rence in the following wools : The King and Queen, and the Princesses 
Augusta, Elizabeth, Mary, dad Amelia, with their usual attendants, 
honoured the theatre, with their presence. Oust as his Majesty entered his 
box, and while he was bowing to the audience with his usual condescension, 
a person who sat in die second row from the orchestra, but towards the 
middle of th>> nit, stood up, and, levelling a horse pistol towards the King's 
box, uretl it. It wa>j co instantaneous os to prevent all the peisons near 
him from seeing iiis design id time to defeat it, though, providentially, a 
gentleman who sat next him, Mr. Holroyd, of Scotland Yard, had the good 
fortune to iaise tke arm of the assassin so a^ to direct the contents of the 
pistol toward rho roof of the hoc The audience remained for a few seconds 
in a mute agony of suspense. 7?he Queen was about making her entry, and 
the curtain rising, as generally arranged on such occasions. His Majesty, 
with the greatest presence of mind p.nd tenderness, waved his hand as a 
signal to dissuade nis Royal Consort from her immediate appearance, and, 
instantly standing erect, raised his right hand to his breast, and continued 
for some time in a bowing att'tude to the spectators to remove their per- 
turbation of mind for Irs safety." Hatfield was seized, tried, and acquitted 
on the ground o£ insanity, remaining confined in a lunatic asylum until 
his death, January 23rd, 184 J. 

Told by its Plotters, 


the occasion of declaring that however the House was unfortu 
ualely divided as to the great measure in question, that with 
regard to affection and attachment to their Sovereign, solicitude 
fOi.' his preservation, and admiration of his virtues, there was 
but one sentiment. The address* to his Majesty being passed, Lord 
Castlereagh moved fo_- Ua\e to bring in a Bill f o • the Union 
of Great Britain and Ireland. His lordship had some days since 
given notice that he would make this motion, and it had been 
given out that Opposition intended to muster all their strength, 
and to exert all their abilities to resist it. It appeared, how- 
ever, that although they wished to bring together all the opposers 
of the question, the leaders of the party did not think it prudent 
to debate it. Mr. Geoige Ponsonby, who has been considered 
as the chief conductor cf Opposition, made only a very short 
speech, saying that he considered all arguments useless, that 
he could nuo hope to change the determinationof the majority, 
but that he would still oppose the measure in every stage till its 
conclusion. Upon this declaration it appeared to Lord Castle- 
k'eagh and the chief friends of Government that it would be no 
use to provoke a discussion which seemed to be declined by the 
loaders of Opposition, and the debate which took place was 
occupied by Mr. Ball and Mr. Gould, two barristers; by Mr. 
O'Donnel, Mr. H. Osboine, and Sir L. Parsons, on the part of 
Opposition. Mr. Holmes ; Mr Martin, Mr. Latouche, Sir Henry 
Cavendish, and Dr. Browne spoke on the side of Administration. 
The manner in which the debate was conducted showed that 
the House was tired with the discussion of the subject, and there 
was manifest indisposition to enter seriously into fresh debate. 

The House divided about eleven o'clock ; for giving leave, 160 ; 
against, 100- Four of our supporters were locked out, and one 
friend of Opposition. 

Lord Castlereagh then presented the Union Bill, and an 
attempt was made to prevent it? being lead, but after a short 
resistance it was read the first time, ordered to be piinted, and 
to be read a second time on Monday next. I understand there 
is to be i general meeting of Opposition to-day to consult as to 
their future conduct. 

I have, &c., 


Ifr would be tedious, and only tend to weary the reader, 
to quote here the long series of similar letters in which 
those who were engaged in working out the Union in the 
Irish Parliament reported the passing of that measure, 
through its various stages, to then* friends in England. On 

* Memohs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., pp. 23 S, 9. 


The Story of the Union, 

the 3rd June, Oornwallis wrote Portland setting forth the 
promotions in and additions to the Peerage, which he 
had promised by way of reward for pro-Union votes and 
working, and on the following day he wrote to the Bishop of 
Lichfield mfowuaing him that " the Ponsonbys had occa- 
sioned great disgust by bringing Curran, a most disaffected, 
though a veiy able lawyer, into Parliament."* 

On the 7th, Oornwallis wrote Ross as follows : — 

Dublin Castle, June 7, 1800. 

Dear Ross --The Report of the Committee on the Union Bill 
was received last night by a majority of 65, and this day it wilL 
he read a third time and passed, and be sent to the Lords 
on Monday. The greatest satisfaction is that it occasions no- 
agitation either in town or country ; and, indeed, one of the 
violent anti-Union members complained last night in the House 
that the people had deserted them. 

This country could not be saved without the Union, but .you 
must not take it for granted that it will be saved by it. Much* 
care and management will be necessary, and if the British, 
Government place their confidence in an Irish faction all will, 
be ruined. The Chancellor and many of our most able friends 
are blinded by passion and prejudice, and would drive the- 
country into rebellion in six months. Lord Castlereagh is by 
far the best,f but I doubt whether he would yet have firmness 
to control the violent representations of his countrymen, and 
I trust when I retire that some Englishman may be sent over 
who will be at the trouble of acting for himself, and who will 
not submit to be governed. IT 

" Tf the British Government place their confidence in an 
?rish faction all will be ruined." The words were pro- 
phetic. Oornwallis seems to have really believed in the 
necessity of the Act of Union, from an Englishman's point 
of view, but he was not so entirely blinded by his preju- 
dices as not to realise the possible occurrence of circum- 
stances which could not fail to render it a most terrible- 
evil to the people of Ireland. Once, and once only, during 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis Vol. iii., p. 247 
The person referred to was, it is needless to say, John Philpot. 

t If Castlereagh was " by far the best," what must the others have been 

X Memoirs and Corresponde of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., pp. 242, 50. 

Told by its Plotters. 149 

the ninety years which have elapsed since the words just 
quoted were written has " the British Government " shown 
courage or wisdom enough to refuse to wed its fortunes 
to those of " an Irish faction," There has been no fair 
or honest effort to govern Ireland with a view to Irish 
interests and not in those of a miserable and arrogant 
section or party amidst her people. 

On the same day as this letter was written by Cornwallis. 
Cooke wrote to King. His letter was of the cynical kind 
which might have beeu expected- It was as follows : — 

Dublin, June 7, 1800. 

My Dear Sir- -The Union Bill passed at ten to night in 
the Commons. Some violent speeches from lawyers and a curious 
performance from Dobbs, who argued against Union from Daniel 
and the Revelations.* 

Lord Corryf delivered the language of Opposition. Adherence 
to Saurin's doctrine — that the Union was carried by corruption 
— that it was against the wishes of the people— that he would 
assist the people to revive their constitution —that he would 

He then left the House. Soon after Piunket rose, and talked 
of the villainy of Government. Lord Ormonde's brother^ called 
him to order. The House grew violent. The galleries were 
cleared. Piunket continued violent, and called on his friends to 
-secede. About two-thirds of Opposition left the House in a body. 
Many very respectable characters remained, who explained their 
sentiments and reasons for not seceding. 

The Bill was then passed. It is a great day over, and, all things 
considered, over well. Dublin is quiet. 

I am called over by family affairs, and I hope to see you next 
week. — Most truly yours, 

F.. Cooke. § 

Grattan's son, writing of the circumstances thus jaunt- 
ingly referred to by Cooke, says : — " Thus ended the Irish 
Parliament. Some surrendered it throagh fear of Jaco- 
binism ; others through terror of the authorities ; others 

* This was Conway Eichard Dobbs, member for the county of the town of 
<?arrickfergus. His residence was Castle Dobbs, Cam'ckfergus. 
t Member for county Tyrone. 

X Hon. James Butler, Member for county of Kilkenny. 

§ Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., pp. 250, 1, 


The Story of the Union. 

through fear of the Catholics : others through bribery ; and 
others through delusive hopes, "* 

Two days later, o i the 9th, Cornwallis wrote Portland 
as follows : — 

Dublin Castle. Jane 9fch, 1800. 

My Lord- Having received repeated assurances in your Grace's 
despatches that his Majesty would be graciously pleased to consider 
in the most favourable light the services of those who should assist 
his Majesty's Government in forwarding and accomplishing by 
their influence and exertions the great measure of an Union of 
Great Britain and Ireland, / have thought it my duty to impress 
this sentiment in the manner I deemed most effectual, and to take 
advantage of the zealous disposition it inspired.^ 

This great work being now, I may say, completed by the pass- 
ing of the Union Bill in the House of Commons, it now becomes 
my duty to sfcate to your Grace that part of my engagements 
which it is of consequence should be carried into early execution. 

I, therefore, enclose to your Grace a list of the persons to whom 
I have ventured to hold out a reasonable expectation that, in con- 
sequence of their valuable services in the manner I have alluded 
to, his Majesty would, in his goodness, raise them to the rank of 
Peers of Ireland. ... 

The list which I submit may appear numerous, but I believe it 
hardly exceeds one or two former instances, and certainly no 
period ever before occurred at which either the attachment of the- 
friends to his Majesty's Government and the interests of the 
British Empire was of such essential importance, was more con^ 
spicuously displayed, or so highly deserving of favour and 
distinction. % 

The list of names enclosed was as follows : — ■ 

Charles Coote, Esq. 

Hon. Clotwoi thy Rowley. 

Right Hon. Sir John Blaquiere, K.B. 

Right Hon. Lodge Morres, Lord of the Treasury. 

Sir James Blackwood, Bart. 

Sir John Henniker, Bart. 

Sir W. G. Newcomen, Bart. 

Sir Richard Quin, Bart. 

Sir Thomas Mullins, Bart. 

William Hare, Esq. 

* Life of Henry Gratfcan. By his son. Vol. v., p. 179. 

t The italics are ours; they may tend to direct attention to Lord Corn- 
wallis's euphemistic description of what was neither moie nor le;ss than 
flagrant and ahominahle bribery. 

X Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., pp. 251, 2.. 

Told by its Plotters. 


Joseph Blake, Esq. 
Henry Sandford, Esq. 
John Bingham, Esq. 

Henry Prittie, Esq., of Silver Mines, in the county of 

John Preston, Esq., of Ballinter, in the county of Meath. 
Maurice Mahon, Esq., of Strokestown, in the county of 

Of these Coote was recommended by Cornwallis foi 
a Peerage, because, to use his own words, he " supported 
an expensive contest to return General Dunne instead 
of his brother, General Coote, who could not attend his 
duty in Parliament." Clotworthy llowley received the 
title he asked for, that of Lord Langford. He was a brother 
(r xhe then Earl of Bective. Sir John Blaquiere was 
recommended for a Peerage, because he had " I ept the 
friends of the Union together by his constant convi viality. " 
Lodge Mories was described as possessing " estates amount- 
ing to £5,000 a year in the counties of Kilkenny and 
We uord, " and as having " given a vvanii and useful 
support " to the Union. Blackwood was stated to possess 
" a fortune of £10,000 a year," and Cornwallis declared 
that the Government was "much indebted foe his support 
in Parliament and in the county.'' Henniker was stated i,o 
have given "the measure of Union a decided support." 
ftewcomen was declared to have been "particularly 
serviceable,'' and the Viceroy added that it waj "known 
that for some time an attempt was made to injure his 
banking house/' Quinn was asserted to be in possession 
of £6,000 a year, "unembarrassed,'' au assertion which 
was not made about any of the others. He was fust 
created Lord A dare and, later on, Karl of Dnnraven. 
Mullins, who was made Lord Ventry, was declared to be 
worth above ,£10,000 a year. Fare was made Lord Ennis- 
mo *e, and afterwards Farl of Listowe). Blake was a miser- 
able pervert, his father, Blake of Ardfry, being a wealthy 


The Story of the Union. 

Catholic, He was created Lord Wallscourt. Sandford 
became Lord Mount Sandford, Binghani became Lord 
Clanmorris. Prittie received the title of Lord Dunalley, 
and Maho??. that of Lord Hartland. Poor John Preston 
was left unennobled. 

Thus was the Irish Peerage degraded by the admission 
to its ranks of a group of dastardly traitors, who, in any 
free land, would have received, as they merited, only the 
contempt and aversion of their fellow-countrymen. 

Told by its Plotters. 



On the 13th June, Portland wrote a letter to Cornwallis, 
creditable not only to the writer, but redounding in the 
highest degree to the honour of George III. The King 
•seems to have been really unconscious of the baseness of the 
tactics adopted by his Irish representatives until Corn- 
wallis's demand for the recognition of the " services" of 
those whom they had bribed by the promise of titles was 
necessarily brought to his knowledge. Portland's words 
were as follows : — 

In addition to the despatch I have had the honour of writing 
to your Excellency upon the subject of the Peerages which you 
have recommended to he created, it is necessary forme to open 
to you at length and without reserve, his Majesty's wishes and 
opinions as connected with that subject, together with those 
which he has been pleased to express respecting the proposed 
promotions in the Peerage of Ireland, the selection of the Peers 
who are to represent the Peerage of that kingdom, and the dis- 
tribution of British honours. . , . His Majesty's wishes in 
this respect cannot be so well illustrated as by my informing you 
that it is his opinion, in which his servants entirely concur, that 
it would be more creditable to the character of his Majesty's 
Government that five or six, or even more, of the Representative 
Peers should be persons who had resisted the measure of Union, 
than that the exclusion of any one of them should be carried by 
the voice of a single Peer whose creation could be supposed to be 
ascribable to such a purpose.* 

Portland went on to detail and to vindicate the King's 
objections to the proposed degradation of the Peerage, and 
to suggest the ruthless cutting down of the proposed list 
of new titles and promotions. The result was that Corn- 
wallis was at his wits' end ; he scarely knew what to do , 
and in his despair wrote Portland : — 

Secret and confidential. 

lJublin Castle, June 17th, 1800. 
My Lord— After having passed two painful years of difficulty 
and anxiety, my prospect had begun to brighten. The spirit of 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. ?ii., p. 257 


The Story of the Union. 

rebellion was almost universally subsiding, and the great and 
important measure of Union was not only carried by a majority 
in Parliament, but received throughout the nation, and even in 
the metropolis, with less ill-humour than could have been 
expected ; and many of the most respectable, although not during 
the contest the least violent, of the anti-Unionists had declared 
that they no longer wished to be ranked amongst the opposers of 
Government. But your Grace's despatches of the 12th and 13th, 
as far as my personal feelings are concerned, have placed me in 
a more distressing situation than T have yet experienced. Tn the 
most severe trials I have hitherto been able to conduct myself 
with a firmness becoming a man of honour and integrity; but 
now my condition is so much altered that 1 must either say to 
those whom I am about to disappoint that I will not keep my 
word with them, or acknowledge that I have pretended to have 
powers which I did not possess, and that I must declare my 
engagements to be void, because his Majesty's Ministers have 
refused to fulfil them. 

Cornwallis proceeded to give an instance of the hardship 
which adherence to the line of conduct sketched out by 
Portland would involve. He said • — 

Your Grace has by a stroke of a pen put Sir John Blaquiere out 
of the question with respect to the Representative Peerage, but 
you cannot by the same means put my breach of faith out of the 
question. That object was actually promised by me in the 
event of his hearty support ; he has performed his part of the 
stipulation, and now that his eervice is over it is proposed to me 
that I should tell him that it is out of the question that I should 
obtain for him the reward which I had engaged he should 
receive. * 

This was a terrible difficulty for a time \ bu«, eventually 
the scruples of the King and Portland were over/come, 
and the greater number of the bribes promised the 
group of miserable traitors whose names we have printed 
duly paid. In order to secure this result, however, Castle- 
reagh had to declare that in the event of any other courses 
being adopted he should consider bis position as Chief 
Secretary untenable. Notwithstanding every exertion, how- 
ever, Blaquiere only received a portion of his stipulated 
titular reward. He was created Lord de Blaquiere. 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. 

Vol. iii., pp. 2ti2, 63. 

Told by its Plotters. 155 

Something more than titles, however, was needed. 
There were those who had sold their country as they 
would have sold their souls for money wherewith to live as 
" gentlemen" God save the mark ! — which meant to 
keep claret on their tables and to be able to gamble of 
nights in Daly's club-house, to riot and to junket as ^as 
the way of Irish "gentlemen" in the days with which we are 
dealing. Money, money, more money, was still the cry 
from Dublin Cooke was now in London. Jdarsden wrote 
him as Allows : — 


Dublin Castle, July 10, 1800. 

DftAR SlR- - . . . Lord Castlereagh wishes me to remind yon 
of the necessity of supplies. We are in great want. 

Blaquiere's business has been very unpleasant. I succeeded 
yesterday in a final adjustment with him, to the satisfaction of all 
parties. He played the true black in the business ; but, all things 
considered, we got well out of it.* Some other of our Swiss 
Gu aril f are pressing us hard. 

You know T of the very handsome letters which we have got- I 
am extremely glad of it for the feelings of some of our friends. 
— Believe me, &e., 

A. Marsden X 

The circumstances connected with Blaquiere's conduct 
referred to in the foregoing letter were explained in 
two other communications written on the 12th July, and 
addressed respectively to Cooke and King, To the first 
aamed the Chief Secretary wrote as follows 

You have probably heard from Marsden that Blaquiere has 
waived his Representative Peerage for more substantial objects. 
I shall not trouble you with the detail. I am much relieved by 
the termination of this business, though it has cost us dear, 
and was not very smooth in the transaction^ 

* There is a touch of the English burglar's style in this sentence. The 
slang phrases of Mr. Marsden inevitably remind the reader of the methods 
of composition of those who write of "fakes," and " beaks," and " cribs to 
be cracked." 

t Id est, "our mercenaries." This was candid, at any rate. 

X Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., p. 276. 

§ Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., p. 278. 

156 The Story of the Union. 

To King he wrote : — 

I am happy to tell you that Blaquiere has been prevailed on 
to see that the House of Lords will not afford the best field 
for his talents. The conviction has not been accomplished 
without considerable difficulty, but the Lord Lieutenant left no 
means untried to accommodate to the King's feelings on this 

On the 26th July, Dr. Moylan, Bishop of Cork, wrote a 
letter to Mr. Marshall, which, however repugnant in its 
tone to the feelings of most Irishmen nowadays, is valuable 
as proving in the clearest manner possible the motives 
which weighed with that prelate, as with so many of his 
most reverend brethren, in inducing him to support the 
TJnion. The only motive animating the Bishops was desire 
to save their people from an intolerable tyranny. It must, 
however, be admitted that some of the prelates showed 
themselves terribly unwise and short-sighted politicians. 
The truth is that they were cajoled by men who in their 
hearts hated the religion of which they were the local 
heads, and who used them so far as they dared to facilitate 
their own base purposes t The Bishops were entirely uncon- 
scious of the baseness of those who were duping them, 
and really believed that they were serving their people. 
However mistaken in their conduct, no stigma of corrup- 
tion can be laid on any of them. Pr, Moylan wrote : — 

The great question of Legislative Union is, thank God, most 
happily decided. The manner in which Lord Castlereagh lias 
conducted that important measure is highly honourable to his 
lordship, and evinces the most extensive abilities. He has closed 
a most glorious and successful Parliamentary campaign.+ May 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., p. 278. 
The consideration which prevailed with Blaquiere was a pension of £1,000, 
in addition to a compensation of £3,200 a year bestowed on him for the 
abolition of his sinecures. 

t These were strange words to flow from the pen of the brother of the 
brave general of cavalry whose sword had been so freely wielded towards 
the freeing of America. Dr. Moylan was brother to General Moylan, of the 
United States army, in which the services of "Moylan's Dragoons" can 
never be forgotten. He was also uncle of the late Alderman Denis Moylan, 
of Dublin, brother-in-law of Lord Justice Barry. 

Told by its Plotters. 


the Almighty grant him health and length of days to consolidate 
this good work and to see the advantages realised which are 
expected eventually to accrue from it to this much-distracted 
country ! I trust it will put an effectual stop to those civil and 
religious disorders, which have so shamefully disgraced this 
nation, and which it seems still the inclination of a certain fac- 
tion to keep up. Never did that faction display more violence 
and rancour of disposition than they did on the first of this 
month, in this city, and in every town of this country, where 
they have the least influence.* . . . I hear with much satis- 
faction that very little of such factious proceedings have appeared 
in the other parts of this kingdom ; there is not, however, a part 
of the kingdom where the mass of the people were more orderly 
and peaceable in the worst of times than in this city and county. 
But, it seems it is necessary to keep alive this infernal spirit in 
these parts, to serve the electioneering purposes of one or two 
great men. What an affecting reflection, that a country is to 
be disturbed, and civil and religious feuds and discussions 
encouraged and promoted, to serve the private, self-interested 
views of a few families ! Surely, as Government must be 
interested in tranquillising this long-distracted country, they 
cannot but see the necessity of extinguishing this infernal spirit, 
by suppressing all clubs, of whatever description, that tend to 
foment and support it. 

Then the good Bishop went on to recall a fact which very 
clearly illustrated thestate of things of which he complained. 
He wrote : — 

When I had the honour of seeing Lord Castlereagh, he was so 
good as to express his intention of having the chapel that was 
burnt nearBandon immediately rebuilt. I announced to the poor 
people of that parish his Lordship's gracious intentions. They 
received the news with great joy and gratitude. They must 
.surely think I imposed on them, as nothing has been done for their 
relief, nor has General Meyers any orders on that business. I am 
not surprised that his lordship, with the multiplicity of important 
matters which should press on his attention, should forget so 
trivial a matter. Would you, my dear sir, have the goodness to 
remind his lordship of it, and, at the same time, to present my 
most cordial respects to him ?f 

Everything conspired to facilitate the objects of the 

enemies of Irish independence. The treachery of her 

representatives, combined with the bigotry of her Protes- 

* An Orange demonstration in the streets of Cork would be an extra- 
ordinary event nowadays. The fact that it was ever possible shows the con- 
dition of slavish submission to which the majority of the population had 
been reduced. 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh. Vol. hi.., pp. 365, 6. 

158 The Story of the Union. 

taut citizens arid the credulity of many leading Catholics, 
alike aided towards the loss of the freedom of Ireland. 

It was this fact which rendered the writing of the letter 
we have next to quote possible. Cornwall is wrote Port- 
laud : — 

Dublin Castle, August 2nd, 1800. 

My Dear Lord— It is with the utmost satisfaction that I have 
to report to your Grace that I yesterday gave the Royal assent 
to the Union Bill, and that it passed without a murmur in the 
City of Dublin, and without the smallest appearance of discon- 
tent or uneasiness.* 

I have also this day delivered from the Throne, the speech pro- 
roguing the Parliament, and which is to terminate the resident 
Legislature in Ireland, and it is with real pleasure that I have to 
congratulate your Grace and his Majesty's confidential servants 
on this auspicious event. — I have the honour to be, &c, 


There was no end of the importunities which now poured 
in on Cornwallis. He wrote to Koss complaining that 
" Lord Templetown, who had no support to give but his 
vote in the House of Lords, is angry that he is not made 
an Earl and a Representative Peer ; but it is my lot to 
meet with unpleasant circumstances of that nature every 
day, and, what is still worse, to have promises claimed which 
I never gave, for there is no trick too impudent or too pro- 
fligate for a thoroughpaced Irish politician." Reading these 
words, it is some satisfaction to be able to remember that 
Cornwallis's negotiations and relations were with the 
Unionists exclusively. Sternly were these same Unionists 
pressing for payment of their hire. Marsden wrote to King, 
in the following terms : — 

Most private. 

Dublin Castle, Dec. 9, 1800. 
Dear Sir— I am induced to write to you from the great degree 
of inconvenience which I am subjected to by the delay in sending 

* Castlereagh told a different story. He, more candid or better informed, 
wrote that it had been consideredinadvisable to fire any salute in honour of 
the passage of the Act of Union or to make any public demonstration which 
might evoke a counter display in the streets of Dublin. 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii«, p. 286. 

Told by its Plotters. 159 

over the King's letter for putting into our hands the money saved 
in the Civil List in this country to be applied to secret service 

It has fallen to my lot to make a considerable number of the 
engagements which this money was to discharge, and I am pressed 
in some instances in the most inconvenient degree to make good 
my promises. There has, besides, been borrowed from a person 
here a considerable sum, which he is extremely anxious to have 
repaid. The King's letter for this purpose is, I know, in the 
Treasury department ; but, as you have a superintending concern 
for our distress here, I beg leave to entreat that you will have 
inquiry made at the Treasury about it. 

There are some other King's letters which some of our friends 
are looking for rather anxiously, but money is the grand desi- 
deratum. — I am, &c, 

Alexander Marsden.* 

Between the constant demands for money from his 
hungry stipendiaries and the efforts of the Orange faction 
to render their olden supremacy as absolute after the Union 
as it had been before, Castlereagh found his position no 
enviable one. He wrote to his friend Ross under date 
December 12th, 1800, complaining that his " situation 
was unpleasant enough," inasmuch as he should " for many 
months carry on business with Cooke," a man whom he 
described as "a very clever fellow," but one "much more 
partial to the old system of Government"! than to those 
more humane and liberal principles of ruling which Corn- 
wallis undoubtedly desired to establish and to see prevail. 
Again, he wrote : — 

Phoenix Park, December 18th, 1800, 
Dear Ross— . . . Lord Castlereagh sailed last night for 
England, and Elliott follows in a few days, so I shall be left to 
transact all public business with Cooke, with whom I have not 
been in the most pleasant habits, and whose sentiments have 
in general differed much from mine on the subject of managing 

* Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Corn wallis. Vol. iii., pp. 308, 9. 
t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Corn wallis. Vol. iii., p. 3 1 0. 


The Story of the Union. 

this country. He was for many years entirely connected with 
the Chancellor and the old set of Irish politicians. 

My situation is altogether as unhappy as you can conceive, 
and I see no hope of relief, and yet I cannot, in conscience and 
in duty to my country, abandon the Catholic question, without 
which all we have done will be of no avail. 

— Yours ever, &c, 

Cornwallis. * 

Cornwallis's own retirement and the whole history of 
Ireland from 1800 to the present day proves how tenacious 
of life, of their power, and of their plunder were " the old 
set of Irish politicians." It is no exaggeration to say that 
the system of government pursued by Dublin Castle, how- 
ever different in degree, remained identical with that which 
prevailed in the days of Primate Stone, or of Clare and 
Cooke. The atrocious Belfast riots of 1886, which will yet 
be proven to have had their abettors, if not their plotters, 
amongst the permanent officials of Dublin Castle, showed 
that the spirit which animated Cooke and Castlereagh 
still lingered in the departments in which they were once 
chief officials. 

The task which we set ourselves at the commencement 
of this series of papers now draws to a close. So far as it 
was possible to do so, we have told in the words of its 
chief plotters the story of a political action without parallel 
for baseness, duplicity, and treachery in the history of the 
world. If one result of our investigation should be the 
wider diffusion of full knowledge as to the real nature 
of the transactions which rendered the Act of Union 
between Great Britain and Ireland possible, and which, at 
the same time, branded it as absolutely invalid and as 

t Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis. Vol. iii., p. 313. 

Told by its Plotters. 


without binding force on the consciences of the people 
of either country, the tfhief reason for its undertaking 
will have been secured. 



The following were the peerages granted as bribes for pro- 
Union services : — 

Earl of Mountrath, created Lord Castle Coote. 
Clot worthy Rowley, created Lord Longford. 
Sir John Bkquiere, created Lord De Blaquiere. 
Lodge Morris, created Lord Frankford. 
John Henniker, created Lord Henniker. 
Baroness Dufferin, wife of Sir James Blackwood. 
Baroness Newcomen, wife of Sir W. G. Newcomen. 
Sir Richard Quinn, created Lord Adare, afterwards Lord 

Sir Thomas Mullins, created Lord Ventry. 
William Hare, created Lord Ennismore, afterwards Earl of 

Joseph Henry Blake, created Lord Wallscourt. 
Henry Sand ford, created Lord Mount Sandford. 
Henry Prittie, created Lord Dunalley. 
John Preston, created Lord Tara. 
Thomas Mahon, created Lord Hartland. 
John Bingham, created Lord Clan morris. 
Lord Charles Fitzgerald, created Lord Lecale. 
John Toler, created Lord Norbury. 
Frederick Trench, created Lord Ashtown. 
Hon. Robert King, created Lord Erris, afterwards Viscount 

Earl of Clanricarde, to be Earl of Clanricarde, with remainder 
to his daughters. But for this concession the title would have 
been extinct. 

The following English peerages were also granted by way of 
bribery : — 

Marquis of Drogheda to be Lord Moore. 
Marquis of Ely to be Lord Loftus. 
Earl of Ormonde to be Lord Butler. 
Earl of Carysfort to be Lord Carysfort. 
Marquis of Thomond to be Lord Thomond. 



The Story of the Union. 

Viscount O'Neill to be Earl O'Neill. 
Viscount Bandon to be Earl of Bandon. 
Earl of Bective to be Marquis of Headfo-rt. 
Earl of Altamount to be Marquis of Sligo. 
Viscount Castlestuart to be Earl of Castlestuart. 
Viscount Donoughtnore to be Earl of Donoughmore. 
Viscount Caledon to be Earl of Caledon. 
Viscount Kenmare to be Earl of Kenmare. 
Viscount Bantry to be Earl of Bantry. 
Lord Glentworth to be Viscount Limerick. 
Lord Somerton to be Viscount Somerton. 
Lord Yelverton to be Viscount Avonmore. 
Lord Longueville to be Viscount Longueville. 
Lord Monck to be Viscount Monck. 

Lord Kilconnell to be Viscount Dunlo, afterwards Earl of 

Lord Tullamore to be Viscount Charleville. 
Lord Kilwarden to be Viscount Kil warden. 


The total sum paid the proprietors of Pocket Boroughs was 
£1,260,000. Of this Lord Downshire received no less than 
£52,500, and Lord Ely £45,000. The price fixed for each borough 
was £15,000— a sum which in a few cases had to be divided be- 
tween several persons. For Knocktopher Sir Hercules Langrishe 
received £13,862 10s ; and his co-proprietor, Sir George Shee, 
£1,137 10s. 

Id the division in the House of Commons on the question of 
giving leave to introduce the Union Bill the numbers were : — 

For giving leave ... ... 160 

Against ... ... ... 100 

Majority ... ... 60 

On the question of Committal the numbers were : — 

For ... ... . . 118 

Against ... ... 73 

Majority ... ... 45 

With these figures before us it is well to bear in mind that no 
less that 71 members of the House were placeholders or bound to 
Government by various ties. 

Told by its Plotters. 163 

56 of these held office at the will of Government, and would 
certainly have been dismissed had they voted against the 

9 were King's Counsel, or held patents of precedence. No 
mercy would have been shown these either had they 
voted according to their conscience. 

6 held offices for life. 

71 Total. 

Tt will be seen that, deducting the votes of these men, Govern- 
ment was in a minority, and we know enough of the gross and 
terrible corruption which existed to appraise at its proper value 
the support of the same minority. 



AGAR, Protestant Archbishop of Cashel. His price, 109. His 

servility, 111. Presses for, and receives, his reward, 140. 
Aldermen of Dublin. Their names in 1799, 110. 
Alexander, Henry, M.P., 97. 

Altamont, Earl of, describes the condition of Mayo, 103. 
Arklow. Orange murders there, 119. Noble conduct of a 

Protestant gentleman there, 119, 
Auckland, Earl of, corresponds with Beresford on the 

subject of the Union, 8. Letter from Beresford to, describing 

temporary defeat of Union proposals, 76. 
Avonmore, Lord Chief Baron, 80. 
Barrington, Sir Jonah, 1. Describes the Irish Bar, 3. 
Barristers, Irish. Their feeling towards the Union, 4. Propose 

to hold a meeting to consider the proposed Union under arms, 

32. The meeting, 44, 45. 
BECTIVE, Lord, Bribed, 57. 
Bellew, William, Bribed, 47, 49. 

Beresford, John C. His cruelties, 48. Opposed to the 
Union, 50. 

Beresford, John. His character and dismissal from office, 6. 
His wealth, how acquired, 7. Describes his interview with 
Pitt, 12. Describes the debates and agitation produced by 
the Union proposals, 81. On the policy of " the Papists," 
86. Recommends the purchase of Boroughs, 93. Writes a 
pamphlet in favour of the Union, 115. 

Bishops, Irish Catholic. State provision offered by Corn- 
wallis, 89. Some of them accept it and admit the principle 
of the royal veto, 90. Their motives and allowance to be made 
for them, 90, 91, 92. 

Blaquiere, Sir John. Seeks and obtains the reward of his vote 
for the Union, 56. 

Boroughs, Suppressed. Amount paid by way of compensa- 
tion, 162. 

Bribery and Corruption, 21, 23, 24, 45, 47, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 69, 
75, 76, 98, 99, 125, 127, 128, 131, 132, 139, 140, 141, 153, 154, 
155, 156, 157, 158, 159, 160, 162. 


CAMDEN, Earl, 2, 14. Writes Castlereagh denouncing Lord 
Cornwailis, 19. Advises Bribery, 21. 

Cashel, Protestant A rcl; bishop of, Agar. His applications to 
Cornwailis, 109. 

Castlereagh, Lord, 4, 5. Connivance at atrocities, 15. On 
the public mind towards the Union, 27. Letters to Beresford 
and Foster, 31. His industry, 32. Letter to the Duke of 
Portland, 32. Asks for money for bribery, 55. Confident 
of triumph, 57. Letters, 58, 59, 60. Eeceives money for 
bribery, 61. Suggests " buying off " opponents, 76. His 
double-dealing with the chiefs of the Catholics and Protes- 
tants, 94. Is despondent, 100. Asks for money for bribery, 
127. Again, 128. Further demand, 133. Described by 
Henry Grattan, junior, 142. 

Catholics, The. Their attitude towards the Union, 4, 34. 
Reasons which influenced their actions, 35. Their dis- 
abilities in 1800, 35, 36, 37. Plot to deceive and terrorise, 
42. Generally hostile to the Union, 44. Lord Cornwallis's 
testimony, 44. Meeting at Lord Fingal's, 47. Their real 
attitude explained by Dr. Troy, 50, 51. Described by Corn- 
wailis, 53. Against the Union, 59. Denounced by Lord 
Inchiquin, 72. Offers made them by the Anti-Unionists, 
81, 82. Their real feelings testified to by Dr. Plunket, 
Bishop of Meath, 123, 124. The Priests of Meath and their 
people, 124. The promises made to the leading Catholics, 
145. Sanctioned by the Cabinet, 147. 

Chapels Burned, 118. 

Clare, Earl of. States Pitt's decision relative to the proposed 
Union, 9. Sir Jonah Barrington's description of him, 11. 
Confidence in Pitt's hatred of the Catholics, 13. His 
courage, 77. Determination to destroy the Irish Constitu- 
tion, 80. 

Conway, A Spy, 99. 

Cooke, Edward, Under Secretary, 1. His pamphlet in favour 
of the Union, 1. His dismissal and restoration, 2. Describes 
Bar meeting, 4. Writes Castlereagh, 20, 49. Describes 
the debate on the Union, 100. 

Cork, City of. Address from Common Council in favour of the 
Union, 61. 

CORNWALLIS, Marquis of, 2, 3. Writes to Pitt, 9. De- 
nounces acquittal of Hugh Wollaghan, 17. Dislike of the 
Orange faction, 18, 26. Incurs their hatred, 20. Writes to 
the Knight of Kerry, 24. Anxious for Emancipation of the 
Catholics, 26, 84. Action relative to Lords Shannon and 
Ely, 30. Describes attitude of Dr. Troy and Lords Fingal 
and Kenmare, 47. On the feeling throughout the country 
regarding the Union, 73, 74. Speech from the Throne, 78. 
Negotiations with leading Catholics, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 
89, 90, 91, 92. Presses for a settlement, 87. Proposes a 


State endowment for the Catholic bishops and clergy, 89. 
Attacked by Beresford, 93. Defends himself against the 
charges of the Orangemen, 101. His " leniency for," 
102. On the "jobbery" which prevailed, 103. Dis- 
misses from office all opponents of the Union, 104. His 
growing disgust with his tas>k, 105, 106. Calculations as to 
the majority for the Union, 106. Bogus declarations in favour 
of, 106, 107. His pro-Union tour. 111. Narrow escape from 
death, 112. Asks for more soldiers, 134. Calculates as to 
the majority for the Union, 135. On the corruptibility of 
the Irish members, 137. Announces the adoption of an 
Address in favour of the Union, 140. Describes the real feel- 
ings of those who were supporting theUnion, 144. On the 
character of the supporters of the Union, 158. 

CORRY, Isaac, Right Hon., 44. His re-election for Newry, and 
the action of the Catholics there, 88. 

Courtsmartial and Hanging, the " wretched business 
of," 117. 

Coyle. His duel with Ogle, 54. 

Darragh, of Eagle Hill, Athy, 3. 

Day, Mr. Justice. His clemency, 96. 

Dennehy, Daniel, condemned to death, 96. Commuted to 
exile, 96. 

Devereux, Walter, inhuman sentence on, 79. 
Doherty, Thomas, murdered, 16. 

Donoughore, Earl of, assaulted for supporting the Union, 81 

Dowxshire, Lord, refuses to vote for the Union, 63. Dismissed 
from Privy Council and Militia, 63. Cornwallis's negotia- 
tions with, 105, 106. Pitt describes an interview with, 126. 

Dublin, Corporation of, Expels Henry Grattan, 5. Residences 
of Irish nobility in, 27. Excitement in, 44, 45. Rejoicing 
in, at temporary defeat of Union propositions, 77. Remains 
hostile to the Union, 107. The Corporation of, 110. Rejects 
the attempts of the Castle, 123. The people of, opposed to 
the Union, 131. The excitement in the streets of, 135. 

Duelling. The Castle and the Patriotic duelling combina- 
tions, 121. 

Duigenan, Patrick, LL.D. His history and hatred of the 
Catholics, 50, 51, 54. 

Emancipation, Catholic. Object of promising and how utilised* 

85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92. 

Ely, Earl of, 30 ; Created Marquis, 30. Story of his intrigues 
with Castlereagh, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72. His 
bribe, 69. 

Enniskillen, Earl of, 17. 

Fingal, Earl of, His attitude towards the Union, 33. His sub- 


serviency, 34. Not authorised to speak for Irish Catholics, 

43. Introduced to Portland, 114. 
Fitzgerald, Lord Edward. Describes Parliament which 

passed the Union, 40. 
FITZWILLIAM, Earl, 2, 6. His description of John Beresford, 7. 
Foster, John, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, 25. His 

character and hatred of Catholics, 60. Persists in his oppo- 
sition to the Union, 141. 
GEORGE III., King of England, orders removal of Grattan's 

name from roll of Privy Council, 5. Attempt to Assassinate, 


Gladstone, William Evvart, describes Irish Orange faction, 40. 
GLENTWORTH, Lord, 31. Assaulted for supporting the Union, 

GRATTAN, Henry, 4. False accusation of treason against, 5. 
Describes the Orange faction, 15, 16. His son describes the 
measures taken by the patriotic party, 120. Speaks against 
the Union, 130. His curious election, 130. Duel with Corry, 
138. Effect of the libels of his enemies, 138. 

HlGGiNS, Francis, Proprietor of the Freeman's Journal, 2. Be- 
trayer of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, 2. 

Hughes, James, An informer, 99. 

Inchiquin, Lord. His enmity towards the Catholics, 72. His 

death, 72. 
Insurrection Act, 77, 78. 

Ireland, Bank of, 48. Its directors at the period of the 
Union, 48. 

IRISH Government, System of. The opinion of an English 
official, 104. 

Irishmen, The United 5. Their demeanour towards the Irish 

Parliament, 37. Their error, 39. 
JAMES, Alderman, "Secured " by Castlereagh, 28. 
Justice, denial of, to Catholics and those accused of disloyalty, 

15, 17. 

KENMARE, Earl of. With Lord Fingal, favours Union, 34. Not 
authorised to speak for Irish Catholics, 43. His negotiations 
with Lord Cornwallis, 83, 84. His bribe, 107. His 
character, 108. 

Kerry, Knight of. Written to by Cornwallis, 24. His rewards 
for voting for Union, 24. 

Kerry, Protestant High Sheriff (Ralph Marshall). His kind- 
ness, 96. 

KiLWARDEN, Lord, 31. 

Langrishe, Sir Hercules, bribed, 58, 81. 

La Touche, Digges, 48. 

Leinster, Duke of. Declares himself opposed to the Union, 72. 


Lennan, Rev. Dr., Newry. His support of Isaac Corry, 88. 
Loxgueville, Lord. His corruption, 61. 

MacNally, Leonard. His pension for betraying his clients, 2. 
M'Clelland, James, barrister. Bribed, 45. 
M'GuiCHEN, an informer, 99. Betrays his clients, 99. 
Mail-coaches, Irish. Dangers of travelling by, 86. 
Moylan, Dr., Catholic Bishop of Cork, 156. Describes an Orange 

demonstration in the streets of Cork, 157. 
Musgrave, Sir Richard. His History of the Rebellion of 1798, 

124. His bribe, 124. 
Norbury, Lord. Introduces the Insurrection Bill, 77. 
Nugent, General, 79. 

O'Beirne, Thomas Lewis, Protestant Bishop of Meath. His 

remarkable career, 87. 
O'Connor, Arthur, Trial of, 5. 

Ogle, George, Right Hon., 54. His duel with Coyle, 54. 

Orange Faction. Responsible for the destruction of the Irish 
Parliament, 122. Terrorism organised by, 126. Coruwallis 
cautions the British Government against, 148. Efforts of, in 
later days, 160. 

Ormonde, Marquis of. An execution levied on his goods in 

retaliation for his support of the Union, 81. 
Parliament, The Irish, 37. Its constitution, 37, 38. Need for 

reform, 38. The intentions of United Irishmen towards, 38. 

The benefits it conferred on Ireland, 39. Destruction of, 

described by Henry Grattan, junior, 149. 
PARNELL, Sir John, 25, 70. His incorruptibility, 70, 71. Dis- 
missed from office, 71. Speech against the Union, 100. His 

talent for " obstruction," 129. 
Peerage, Irish, degraded for purposes of bribery, 150, 151, 152, 


Pitt, William. Intrigues with Cook, 1, 7. His decision 
relative to the Union, 9. His real feelings towards the 
Catholics, 10. His double-dealing, 12. Lies to Beresford, 
13. Inclined " most strongly to the Union on a Protestant 
basis," 14. Interview with Foster, 22. Counsel's corruption, 
23. His conduct towards Lord Fitzwilliam, 29, 30. Finds 
money for Bribery, 142. 

Pltjnket, Lord. Describes conduct of Government when seek- 
ing to bring about the Union, 40. 

Portland, Duke of, 12, 62. Promises Cornwallis every possible 
assistance to secure the Union, 137, 138. 

Priests, Irish, Reject the Veto, 91. 

Press, Castlereagh's plans for its corruption, 28. 

Prussia, King of, Asks for Irish rebels to fight his battles, 96. 


Rebels, Irish, to be shipped to Prussia, 95. How the plan was 
worked, 96. Why it was abandoned, 96 (note). 

Sirr, Major. His " Gang," 3. His " Services," 14. 

Taylor, H., Aide-de-camp to Lord Cornwallis, 19. 

Terrorism, The system of, organised to facilitate the passage 
of the Union, 15, 17, 41,48, 79, 116, 117. Archbishop of 
Dublin protests against, 117, 118, 119. Denounced by Corn- 
wallis, 126. 

Trinity College, Dublin. Orders removal of Grattan's por- 
trait, 5. 

Troy, Most Rev Dr., Lord Archbishop of Dublin, 28. In favour 
of Union provided Emancipation was secured, 34. Facts 
which influenced his action, 35, 36, 37. His feeling towards 
the Irish Parliament, 38. His error, 39, 40. Chapels burned 
in Dublin diocese, 41. Explains his inability to bind or 
speak for his co-religionists, 47. Writes to Castlereagh, 51. 
In favour of a veto accompanied by Emancipation, 90. 
Describes the feeling of his own people towards the Union, 
95. Endeavours to secure support for the Union, 108. His 
honesty of purpose, 108. Describes the feeling of his people, 
118. Deceived by Castlereagh, 118- 

Tyrawley, Lord, 59. 

Ulster, opposed to the Union, 46, 97, 98. 

Union, rejected by the House of Commons, 74. Analysis of 
the voting, 76. Nature of the plot, 80. Petitions for and 
against, 92. Enormous corruption used to secure its passage, 
98. Names of some of those who were working for it, 
113, 114. Result of first division in January, 1800, 129, 130. 
An act of Rebellion amounting to High Treason, 132. Vote 
in favour of, 136. Unexpected desertions denounced by 
Castlereagh, 136. Cost of the Union, 141. Royal Assent 
given to, 158. Majority for, how made up, 162, 163. 

Veto. The principle accepted by a few of the Irish Bishops, but 
rejected by their priests, 90, 91. 

WAR. In defence of the Irish Parliament would have been 
justifiable, 122. 

WATERFORD, Marquis of. His unreasoning terror, 116. 

Westmeath, Earl of. An execution levied on his goods in 
retaliation for his support of the Union, 81. 

WlCKHAM, William, 6. 

Wollaghan, Hugh, a yeoman, murders the boy Thomas 

Doherty, 16. Acquitted by a corrupt Court Martial, 17. 
Velverton, Lord. In favour of Union, 31. 
Yeomanry, Their atrocities, 16. Murder of the boy Doherty. 



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